refugees

Don’t trade people fleeing war ‘like commodities’ – UNHCR

The UN High Commission for Refugees has issued a strongly-worded statement condemning attempts by the UK government to fly asylum-seekers to Rwanda. And while the UK courts have rejected attempts to halt the flights, the European Court of Human Rights has unexpectedly intervened to halt the first scheduled removal of asylum-seekers at least until July. The result has been to raise the international profile of the dangers and difficulties involved in asylum-seeking.

As UK government attempts to deport a first group of asylum seekers to Rwanda clash with local efforts to have the courts approve legal objections to the scheme, the UN’s refugee agency has spoken out strongly against the UK’s plan.

The UK should not be trying to ‘shift asylum responsibilities’ and ‘evade international obligations’, the UNHCR’s assistant high commissioner for protection, Gilliam Triggs has said.

Even refugees have a right to be heard on voting issues – high court

Key organisations working with Kenya’s vast refugee community want them to elect leaders based on where they live now, rather than where they came from. They say this will reduce ethnic tension and will fall in line with the general approach to elections in Kenya. To implement these changes, the country’s refugee affairs secretariat and the United Nations refugee agency have been working on new guidelines for how refugee community leaders will be chosen. But it turns out that these guidelines were not discussed beforehand with the affected communities.

Concern over impact of Botswana's appeal decision on 'refugees'

When Botswana’s Court of Appeal delivered its recent decision on 709 people from Caprivi, living in the Dukwi refugee camp, the judgment came as a serious blow to the hopes of the refugees. It has also raised questions by the refugees and their supporters, local and international, about whether the court was correct in its approach. Less theoretically, the refugees are deeply concerned about the dangers that they believe await them once they are returned to Caprivi, something that now seems inevitable - as well as the impact on their children's education.

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During the late 1990s, the Caprivi area in Northern Namibia exploded into violence. Caprivi, a narrow tongue of land stretching from Namibia across the northern border of Botswana, also adjoins the borders of Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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