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Niger breaks up Sudanese refugees sit-in as fire destroys their camp

Sudanese refugees in Niger

Agadez camp destroyed by Sudanese from Darfur on 4 January 2020

Niger’s authorities forcibly broke up a sit-in of Sudanese refugees outside UNHCR office in the arid area of Agadez, while some of them reportedly set ablaze the camp once returned by the police.

Hundreds of Sudanese refugees in Niger had staged a sit-in outside the office of the UN agency for refugees in Agadez on 16 December to protest the bad conditions in the camp. Also, they blamed the UNHCR officials for neglecting them pointing to the long delay in the processing of asylum requests.

For their part, the international officials asked the refugees to end the protest and return to their camps first before to deal with their demands. However, the Sudanese who had fled the insecurity in Libya refused to regain the camp.

On Saturday morning, local officials and police and security officers surrounded the sit-inners and asked them to take the vehicles they brought with them to return to their camp 15 km from Agadez.

READ  Seven Nigerian ladies heading  to Libya intercepted at Jigawa village

Refugees who requested anonymity told Sudan Tribune that the security forces beat the refugees and shoved them to the vehicles when they refused the orders to evacuate the site.

Photos and videos of the raid showed protesters severely injured on the head and legs.

Aid workers in the area said the local authorities three days ago had informed the UNHRC of their plan to disperse the sit-in.

Tragic development

Once the authority forcibly moved the first batch of protesters back to the camp, a huge fire tore through the refugee camp and reduced it to ashes.

When asked about the authors of the blaze some refugees said “irresponsible” refugees were desperate and set fire on the camp to protest the forced return to the camp.

READ ALSO: African migrants allege mistreatment in North Africa

The tents were highly flammable, aid workers said.

For his part, Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, said in a tweet on Saturday that the Sudanese refugees destroyed the camp because they demand to be resettled in Europe.

READ  Europe is telling gay asylum seekers they are not gay enough

“80% of the reception centre destroyed by a minority of refugees from Darfur in Agadez who only want to hear about resettlement to Europe,” said Cochetel.

“Destroying the asylum space in Niger or elsewhere is easier than building and protecting it. It is a sad day for refugee protection in Niger,” he added.

The authorities arrested many refugees while others fled in the desert and their whereabouts are unknown.

Also, it is not clear what the Nigerien authorities will do for the over 200 refugees who were waiting outside the UNHCR office to be transported to the camp.

Refugees say they fear that they would be transported to Madama on the border between Niger and Libya.

On 7 May 2018, Nigerien police deported 135 Sudanese refugees to Madama and expelled to Libya as they had already protested the bad conditions in Agadez camp. The move had been denounced by critics as a violation of international law.

READ  EU approves Italian aid scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak

(www.sudantribune.com)

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Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

READ  38 people including children feared dead as vessel carrying fleeing civilians sinks 

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

READ  EU approves Italian aid scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Experts speak on importance of accurate data on migration to implement GCM

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

READ  EU approves Italian aid scheme to support economy in coronavirus outbreak

“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  Gov. AbdulRazaq harps on irregular migration

 

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