Executive Summary for August 6th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a Russian proposal for U.S. coordination in Syria, Germany’s botched Afghan deportation and a Trump administration official’s effort to dismantle the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency.

Published on Aug. 6, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Russia Proposed U.S. Coordination Over Rukban, Syria Reconstruction

A senior Russian military official proposed in a letter to an American counterpart that they cooperate to help displaced Syrians at Rukban border camp – near a U.S. military garrison – return home. The July 19 proposal, first reported by Reuters and confirmed by Russia, was not accepted by U.S. officials.

The plan also included U.S.-Russian cooperation over rebuilding government-controlled areas of Syria. “The proposal argues that the Syrian regime lacks the equipment, fuel, other material, and funding needed to rebuild the country in order to accept refugee returns,” said a U.S. memo, reported by Reuters.

Germany to Return Asylum Seeker Wrongly Deported to Afghanistan

Germany will bring back a man wrongly deported to Afghanistan a week before his asylum appeal hearing, German magazine Der Spiegel reported. The 20-year-old, identified only as Nasibullah S., was deported to Kabul last month but will now be flown back to Germany.

He was among 69 people sent back to Afghanistan that day, including another man who killed himself in Kabul shortly after arriving. Interior minister Horst Seehofer joked over the number of deportations that took place on his 69th birthday, prompting political backlash.

Trump Advisor Pushed to Dismantle UNRWA

The White House official working on a Middle East peace plan, Jared Kushner, pushed to dismantle the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), according to emails obtained by Foreign Policy magazine. The U.S. slashed funding for the agency this year. “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote in one email.

During a June visit to Jordan, Kushner asked Jordanian officials to remove refugee status from Palestinian refugees in the country, the magazine reported. “It’s very clear that the overarching goal here is to eliminate the Palestinian refugees as an issue by defining them out of existence,” president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace Lara Friedman said.

Recommended #MustReads

“The massacres and the mass exodus from rural Djugu barely registered outside the region. There were no tense debates about it on the United Nations’ General Assembly floor, no stern warnings from the White House, no drumbeat of stories leading the nightly network broadcasts or breathless debate on the 24-hour cable news outlets.”

“Something of the Wild West never left her. She battled bureaucracy with all the subtlety of a gunslinger – the cause of an often fractious relationship with the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR.

“With the number of jobs available exceeding the number of Americans seeking jobs, employers are looking beyond the border to fill openings, and migrants are coming to the country in search of work.”

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