Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ethiopia hosts more than 840,000 refugees: UNHCR - Xinhua |

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-13 03:46:03|Editor: Mu Xuequan
ADDIS ABABA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- A total of 6,186 refugees were registered in the month of June in Ethiopia, pushing the number of refugees registered in the East African nation to 843,374.
The figure was given on Wednesday by the United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which said the June refugee arrivals have pushed the number of refugees registered in Ethiopia in the first six months of 2017 to a total of 60,293.
UNHCR gave the figures as it works to highlight the funding gap it is facing to meet the needs of the refugees currently estimated at 307.5 million U.S. dollars. So far 23 percent of the needed 307.5 million U.S. dollars has been donated to UNHCR.
Most refugees in Ethiopia come from the strife- torn nations of Somalia and South Sudan and Ethiopia's northern neighbor Eritrea.
Smaller groups of refugees fleeing war in Sudan and from across the Red Sea from Yemenare also part of the group the UNHCR has registered as refugees in Ethiopia.
With Ethiopia currently being among the top five refugee hosting nations in the world, it's also one of five African countries participating in a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).
CRRF is a vehicle for the implementation of pledges made at UN leaders' summit in September 2016 in New York, where refugees in Ethiopia will be given funds for assisting with education and employment opportunities in Ethiopia.
Western Countries in particular hope that schemes like CRRF will persuade refugees living in Ethiopia and other African nations not to undertake perilous trips to reach their countries and instead stay at their current host countries.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

'Take migrants from Libya' EU Commission tells member states [Video]

Mark Stone, Europe Correspondent in Italy
African migrants currently in Libya who qualify as refugees will be legally resettled to the European Union, according to the European Commission.
The surprise announcement, one of a number of "immediate measures" made in a new EU Action Plan, is designed to tackle an increasingly urgent phase in the ongoing Mediterranean migration crisis.
"All actors now need to intensify and accelerate their efforts in line with the increasing urgency of the situation and the commitments undertaken by EU leaders," the plan states.
The Commission, the executive arm of the EU, published the measures after an overwhelmed Italian government threatened to block entry to Italian ports for all aid ships who rescue and recover migrants trying to cross from Libya to Italy.
Migrant arrivals in Italy are up nearly 19% over the same period last year.
EU figures estimate that 85,183 people, from countries all over Africa, have been rescued while attempting the deadly crossing. Ninety-five percent leave Africa from the Libyan coastline in flimsy boats.
The relocation pledge from Libya is an extension to existing relocation programmes focused on refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, from where 17,000 mostly Syrian refugees have been resettled.
"The Commission will launch a new resettlement pledging exercise in conjunction with the UNHCR starting with those in need of international protection from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan" the new pledge states.
The commission document, called 'Action plan on measures to support Italy, reduce pressure along the Central Mediterranean route and increase solidarity' will form the basis of discussions at an EU interior ministers meeting in Estonia on Thursday.
The document contains a series of new measures including renewed impetus on training and equipping Libyan border and coastguard operations, as well as an official code of conduct for charities involved in search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
Charities have been accused of encouraging the pull of migrants by providing rescue missions. They deny this, pointing out that the migrants were making the journeys in similar numbers before they operated in the region.
Other measures in the Action Plan include €35m (£30.7m) in extra cash for Italy to help the government in Rome deal with the crisis.
Migrants travel to Libya from countries all over Africa - Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan in the east, Mali and Niger in the centre and from Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Gambia in the west.
More than 2,000 are known to have died this year alone according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Around 50 migrants were missing, feared dead, off the coast of Spain on Tuesday. If confirmed, it would make the voyage the deadliest sea crossing in that part of the Mediterranean this year.
Survivors are routinely brought to Italy by charity rescue vessels because Libya is not considered a safe country for them to be returned to.
Charities including the Italian Red Cross have repeatedly warned that Italy's overcrowded reception centres are in a critical state and cannot cope with the overwhelming number of asylum applications.
Sky News has spoken to numerous migrants who have walked out of the centres after an initial registration process which includes fingerprinting. Many make their way to Rome en-route to northern Europe.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The dire situation in the Mediterranean is neither a new nor a passing reality."
"We have made enormous progress over the past two and half years towards a genuine EU migration policy but the urgency of the situation now requires us to seriously accelerate our collective work and not leave Italy on its own.
"The focus of our efforts has to be on solidarity - with those fleeing war and persecution and with our Member States under the most pressure.
"At the same time, we need to act, in support of Libya, to fight smugglers and enhance border control to reduce the number of people taking hazardous journeys to Europe."
Last September, Sky News witnessed the perilous crossings from the deck of a rescue vessel run by the charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).
In the nine months since then, the situation has deteriorated.
MOAS and other charities who operate rescue vessels have repeatedly called for "safe and legal routes" for migrants so that they don't resort to deadly sea crossings fuelled by people traffickers.