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Dutch govt knew about Vietnamese children disappearing from asylum centers for years- Report

The Dutch government has known since 2015 that Vietnamese children are disappearing from asylum shelters in the Netherlands – agencies involved in the care of unaccompanied child asylum seekers have regularly reported signals of human trafficking and people smuggling over the past five years, investigative journalism program Argos reported based on quarterly reports from the protected reception locations Jade and Xonar.

In December 2018, then Justice State Secretary Mark Harbers told parliament that he received no information “that a smuggling network is involved in the disappearance of minor Asian migrants”. He also referred to a police investigation, called PASADENA, saying that the investigation into the trafficking of minor Vietnamese migrants did not find any signs of committed crimes.

But according to Argos, Harbers was wrong on both those statements. In the second quarter of 2015, protected shelter Jade already noted a “trend” of Vietnamese minors disappearing, reporting to the agency responsible for the reception of asylum seekers in the Netherlands COA that 100 percent of Vietnamese minors who came to the shelter disappeared with no trace of where they went. Quarterly reports from the two shelters show that they also raised concerns about disappearing Vietnamese children in 2017 and 2018.

The reports in Argos’ possession also show that the police’s PASADENA investigation into these disappearing children lasted only two months. Two detectives visited the protected shelters in mid-February 2016 to gather information in preparation for the investigation. And in the second half of April 2016, the shelter staff were informed that the investigation had been stopped. And not because no crimes were found, Argos reports. The police noted “clear” signals of human smuggling, likely organized from Vietnam. “To enter into a partnership with Vietnam on this is very difficult, if not impossible. Because of this, it has been decided to stop this investigation,” the police said, according to Argos.

READ  UNHCR releases supplementary COVID-19 appeal to meet exceptional refugee needs in 2021

When asked about Harbers’ apparently false statements to parliament, a spokesperson for current Justice State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knolw told Argos that “two new investigations were recently completed on the departure of unaccompanied minors (including Vietnamese minors) from (protected) shelter.” Broekers-Knol will share the results with the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, “soon”, the spokesperson said.

The Ministry told Argos that investigations did not lead to the establishment of criminal offenses. “Investigation has not led to concrete evidence of the involvement of a specific smuggling network in the departure of Vietnamese unaccompanied minors,” the Ministry said to the program. “Furthermore, the investigation had yielded insufficient indications of trafficking in human beings.”

Over the past decade, more than 2,500 children disappeared from asylum centers in the Netherlands, NRC reported in January based on figures from the COA and guardianship institution Nidos. The COA registered these children as left “with an unknown destination”

 

READ  Over 90 Malians return home safely in charter flight from Chad

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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.

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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  Over 90 Malians return home safely in charter flight from Chad

“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  UNHCR releases supplementary COVID-19 appeal to meet exceptional refugee needs in 2021

 

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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READ  Europe faces 'serious decision' on refugees amid Idlib catastrophe
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