Executive Summary for July 18th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the Libyan coast guard leaving a woman and child to die, refugee children being denied schooling on Greek islands and a German minister in a row over illegal deportation.

Published on July 18, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Libyan Coast Guard Left Migrants to Die at Sea

Libyan coast guards have been accused of abandoning three people in the Mediterranean Sea. A rescue charity said the Libyans left two women and a child in an inflatable boat after intercepting 160 others at sea. Proactiva Open Arms said it found one woman alive on Tuesday and another dead, plus the body of a child in a destroyed boat.

The head of the Spanish charity, Oscar Camps, said the women and child refused to board the Libyan vessel. The coast guard is said to have destroyed their boat and left them adrift. Camps blamed Italy’s interior minister, who has closed ports to rescue boats: “The blame for this crime falls on Matteo Salvini’s policies.”

Child Refugees Being Denied Proper Schooling on Greek Islands

Greece is denying child asylum seekers access to education on its islands, a new report said. Fewer than 15 percent of more than 3,000 school-age asylum-seeking children on the islands were enrolled in public school, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported.

The group also found that just 100 children in government-run camps have access to formal education. HRW’s Bill Van Esveld blamed the E.U. as well as Greece for its deal with Turkey, which confines asylum seekers to the islands: “Stranding children on islands where they can’t go to school harms them and violates Greece’s own laws.”

Hard-Line German Minister Faces Furore Over ‘Illegal’ Deportation

Germany’s interior minister faces accusations that he illegally deported a Tunisian man. Horst Seehofer sent a man who once served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard back to Tunisia despite a court reprieve.

The man, identified as Sami A., was sent to his native Tunisia despite concerns that he might be tortured and despite a court verdict a day before the deportation. Germany’s opposition party criticized the move. “You don’t bend the rule book,” said Greens party leader Robert Habeck.

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“We need greater unity among ourselves as the United Nations agencies because, quite frankly, in [the case of Bangladesh] there were also considerable weaknesses on our side, which allowed the situation to be exploited … [If] we are perceived as being in competition with each other … that will magnify the opportunity for one to be played off against the other … There has been inter-agency strife – let’s put it like that – between UNHCR and [the World Food Programme].”

“Andrew Markus, a Monash University expert on immigration, said studies of Australians’ attitudes found that majority-support for the government’s tough refugee policy remained entrenched despite no boats arriving since mid-2014. Markus does not believe it would be politically possible for a government to resettle the island refugees in Australia now as happened a decade ago.”

“Researchers concluded the move is designed to stop more Syrians fleeing to Turkey, which already hosts 3.5 million refugees. The border with the war-torn country has been closed since 2015, meaning new arrivals are smuggled into the country or manage to dodge border patrols.”

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