Executive Summary for June 29th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including an E.U. migration summit ending with a vague statement, South Korea channeling Trump to strand asylum seekers and Israel planning to prevent Syrian refugees crossing the border.

Published on June 29, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Overnight E.U. Talks End With Breakthrough Agreement on Vague Statement

A European Union summit has ended with a common statement on migration, but few details. Overnight talks delivered a vaguely worded statement that overcame Italian objections.

The deal appears to hinge on swiftly identifying “regional disembarkation platforms” in third countries and half a billion euros ($580 million) for migration projects in Africa. The text calls on the E.U. to “swiftly explore the concept of regional disembarkation platforms, in close cooperation with relevant third countries as well as UNHCR and IOM [United Nations refugee agency and International Organization for Migration].”

As yet, no country has offered to host one of the platforms and there is deep skepticism among policymakers in Brussels over whether they can be made to work. The statement acknowledges that they must conform to international law and respect individual asylum rights, while not acting as a pull factor.

A Deeper Look

Jorgen Carling: Flow Chart of a Failed Idea on Disembarkation Platforms

South Korea Channels Trump to Block Yemeni Asylum Seekers

South Korea will tighten asylum laws after a more than 500 Yemenis arrived in the country. They entered between January and May after a budget airline opened a new route via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The arrivals prompted more than 540,000 South Koreans to sign an online petition, which asks the government to abolish or amend no-visa entries and the granting of refugee status to applicants. The complaints of “fake refugees” have seen comparisons with rhetoric of the United States president Donald Trump. South Korea has already blocked the asylum seekers on the island of Jeju and struck Yemen off its list of no-visa countries.

Israel to Prevent Syrians Fleeing Fighting From Crossing the Border

An Israeli minister said the country must prevent the entry of Syrian refugees.

Fighting in Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights has displaced more than 120,000 people. Energy minister Yuval Steinitz, a senior ally of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel had blocked Syrian refugees before and must do so again: “I think we must prevent the entry of refugees from Syria to Israel; in the past we have prevented such cases.”

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“There has been little serious analysis as to what the notion of political will means and what strategies can be employed to generate and sustain it.”

“If the policy is extended this would also have significant implications for the movement of trade throughout the Mediterranean. But the industry’s immediate concern is humanitarian and for the welfare and dignity of those people that have been rescued and their need to receive proper medical assistance ashore.”

“When migrants arrive in the U.S. they are frequently detained for months or years while they pursue an asylum claim, unless they qualify for parole and can live with a U.S. citizen who vouches for them. Having a sponsor can make a critical difference in a detention system that experts say is designed to make refugees miserable.”

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