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Refugees and Migrants

    November 27, 2018

    Unlawful US border policies are leaving thousands of asylum seekers stranded in Mexico, where they are facing threats of deportation to their countries of origin, where they potentially face serious harm, Amnesty International said today following a research mission last week. Conditions could only worsen under a reported deal between both countries that, if agreed, would force asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed, rather than allow them to enter the United States.

    November 15, 2018

    Since August 2017, more than 720,000 Rohingya have fled a vicious campaign of violence by the Myanmar security forces and sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

    This week some refugees could be returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar under an agreement reached earlier between the two governments that sidestepped safeguards mandated under international law.

    Here, Amnesty International explains how this situation has come about and why the forcible return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar is unlawful, being premature, and putting their lives, liberty and other key human rights at risk.

    Who are the Rohingya people?

    The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar. Until recently, more than a million lived mostly in Rakhine State, in the west of the country, on the border with Bangladesh.

    November 14, 2018

    Bangladesh and Myanmar authorities must immediately halt plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

    A first wave of organized returns could begin as soon as 15 November, following the announcement of a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar last month which falls short of international obligations.

    “This is a reckless move which puts lives at risk,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia.

    “These women, men and children would be sent back into the Myanmar military’s grasp with no protection guarantees, to live alongside those who torched their homes and whose bullets they fled.”

    High risk of forced returns

    On 30 October, representatives of the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments announced they had agreed to start repatriation of some of the more than 720,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 2017.

    November 02, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Media Release

    In response to President Trump’s plans to implement restrictive policies to limit the rights of migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum from Central America, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo issued this statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. I would like to remind President Trump that US law states very clearly that it does not matter where or how people seeking safe haven enter the country – they are allowed to apply for asylum. His intentions to limit the rights of those seeking asylum are against those laws and the USA’s international obligations.

    “Right now, mothers, fathers, and children are enduring a terrible and arduous journey because they urgently need to find safe haven from violence and persecution. Instead of demonizing them, I urge President Trump to think about why anyone would leave their home and embark on such a journey, if they were not afraid for their lives.

    October 26, 2018

    In response to reports that President Trump plans to take executive action blocking refugees and people seeking asylum from Central America from entering the United States to request protection, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The Trump administration is defying international law and manufacturing a crisis at the border by proposing policies that would cause catastrophic and irreparable harm to thousands of families who had no choice but to leave home in order to keep their children safe from harm.”

    “President Trump has shown callous disregard for the plight of those making this dangerous journey from Honduras and other Central American countries. His administration must stop waging a deliberate campaign of human rights violations against people seeking safety and immediately recognize that everyone has the right, under US and international law, to seek protection.”

    Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang added:

    October 22, 2018

    Mexican authorities must guarantee that no one at risk of danger in Honduras is deported and that caravan members are informed of their right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today in response to news that several members of the caravan were transferred to a migration detention center rather than to a shelter.

    “Mexican authorities must at all times avoid detaining children and separating families; they should also attend to the urgent humanitarian needs, avoid using force at all costs and identify those people who are fleeing violence and are in need of international protection,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Thousands of members of a caravan of people from Honduras and Central America began to cross the bridge that divides Guatemala and Mexico yesterday. Several people were wounded during the crossing and tear gas was briefly used by federal police. Thousands of people spent the night on the bridge without proper shelter, food or protection. Several caravan members were transported to a detention center in the city of Tapachula, which is commonly the place where deportation buses depart from.

    October 18, 2018

    With the critical situation on Nauru deteriorating even further, Amnesty International is calling on the Australian government to show leadership, and urgently bring all refugees and asylum-seekers to Australia.

    Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator, said:

    “The Australian chief medical officer has reportedly been deported, which will only compound the dire health situation for people on Nauru, including the more than 80 children who have suffered for over five years.

    "Continuity of care is crucial for such a large number of refugees, including children with such complex health needs, but that’s clearly impossible in such a volatile situation.

    “These children desperately need our help. Prime Minister Scott Morrison cannot stall any longer with his calls for so-called ‘back-door’ legislation, especially as the New Zealand government reiterated its concern only yesterday that such legislation would create ‘second-class citizens’.

    October 18, 2018

    The Mexican government must listen to the individual stories of those fleeing Honduras and inform them of their right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today in response to news that the Mexican government deployed its federal police chief to its southern border to await the arrival of a caravan of over 1,600 people from Honduras, including dozens of families and children. 

    “Mexican authorities should not take a Trump approach treating people like a security threat. These families deserve dignity and respect to ensure that no one is illegally returned to situations where they could risk serious harm due to violence,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

    October 15, 2018

    Amnesty International will challenge in court the constitutionality of Hungary’s controversial law that criminalizes with up to one year in prison, individuals and organizations working on migration, the organization announced today.

    The law, which came into effect earlier this year, is a threat to the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    “The Hungarian authorities’ are persistently intimidating those who challenge their xenophobic policies. This law takes this intimidation campaign a step further by criminalizing their legitimate work to protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees” said Clare Algar, Europe Director at Amnesty International.

    The complaint, which was submitted to the Constitutional Court today on behalf of Amnesty International Hungary, argues that the deliberately vague and ambiguous wording of the legislation leaves it wide open to abuse by the Hungarian authorities and risks discouraging dissent and lawful activities.

    October 11, 2018

    In response to the urgent call made by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today for all refugees and asylum seekers to be immediately evacuated from Nauru, Roshika Deo, Pacific Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “Today the world learned first-hand, from medical experts, exactly how wretched the situation is for Nauru’s refugees and vulnerable people. Australian and Nauruan governments were repeatedly warned of the escalating health crisis resulting from a cruel and broken offshore detention system – they can no longer pretend otherwise.

    “The Nauru government’s decision to end MSF’s health programme with only 24 hours’ notice was callous and disgraceful. As MSF doctors say, it is medically irresponsible. The Australian government must act now before more lives are lost due to these cruel policies. It is all the more urgent now that these populations have been robbed of a lifeline.”

    Background

    October 04, 2018
     Amnesty Secretary General Kumi Naidoo in Lesvos as situation on islands reaches crisis point Refugee women raise their voices for change and set out ten demands for European leaders

    Female refugees and asylum seekers are coming together to fight against horrific abuses, including sexual violence, and to demand a better life in Europe, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today.

    I want to decide my future: Uprooted women in Greece speak out, reveals the perilous journeys made by women and girls and the terrible conditions and dangers they face when they finally arrive on the Greek islands or mainland. It also highlights the tremendous resilience and strength these women have shown in overcoming adversity.

    “The abject failure of European governments to open safe and legal routes to refugees fleeing war is putting women and girls at increased risk of harrowing abuses,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    September 10, 2018

    Amnesty International UK Press Release

    “Some guards treat us like animals” a man held in the Rio Canario police cells

    People fleeing to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao following the spiralling crisis, rising violence, and unrest in Venezuela are facing “appalling” conditions, detention and deportation, a new report from Amnesty International said today (9 September).

    The 52-page report - Detained and Deported: Venezuelans denied protection in Curaçao - shows how refugees and asylum-seekers have been unable to apply for international protection in Curaçao since July 2017, and instead have been detained or deported from the island.

    Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the “active removal strategy”, implemented by the government last year has led to the deportation of over 1,200 Venezuelans in 2017 and almost 400 between January and April this year.

    August 14, 2018

    Responding to news that the authorities in Italy and Malta have closed their ports to Aquarius MV, a rescue ship run by SOS Mediterranee, with 141 people aboard, including 73 children, xxx Amnesty International’s xxx, said: 

    “European governments must stop playing with human lives. Italy and Malta’s disgraceful refusal to allow refugees and migrants to disembark in their ports is pure cruelty. These individuals have braved dangerous journeys and inhumane conditions in Libya only to be stranded at sea as governments shamelessly abdicate their responsibility to protect.

    “What’s equally alarming is that the Gibraltar, under whose flag Aqurius has been sailing, has threatened to terminate the registration of the ship in a bureaucratic manoeuvre designed to frustrate life-saving search and rescue operations at sea. The relentless efforts of NGOs to rescue lives at sea should be celebrated, not hindered or punished.

    August 08, 2018

    The number of people drowning in the Central Mediterranean or being taken back to squalid detention centres in Libya has surged as a result of European policies aimed at closing the central Mediterranean route, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, 'Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Europe fails refugees and migrants in the Central Mediterranean', reveals the devastating impact of policies which have resulted in more than 721 deaths at sea over June and July 2018 alone. It highlights new Italian policies which have left people stranded at sea for days and analyzes how European Union (EU) countries are conspiring to contain refugees and migrants in Libya, where they are exposed to torture and abuse.

    August 01, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Responding to reports that President Donald Trump may seek to cap U.S. refugee admissions at no more than 25,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2019, the lowest goal in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy and Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “The United States betrays both its values and long history of helping those escaping war, persecution, and horrific violence when it denies refuge to those for whom resettlement is the only option. The Administration’s policies are denying thousands of refugees a chance at a new life. Many refugees are also hoping to be reunified with their families here in the US – some of whom have waited years to see their family again.

    “People across the United States are ready to stand with the global community in welcoming refugees as their neighbors, colleagues, classmates, families, and friends. The Administration’s policies continue to keep people in grave danger.”

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