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Executive Summary for May 2nd

We review the recent issues related to refugees, including 99 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwrecks, France evacuating more than 1,000 people from a Paris migrant camp and the second self-immolation this week at Australia’s offshore migrant detention center.

Published on May 2, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Nearly 100 Migrants Feared Dead After Boats Capsize in the Mediterranean

At least 99 migrants are still missing and are feared to have drowned when two boats capsized in the Mediterranean over the weekend. The ships sunk just off the coast of Libya, hours after migrants had boarded the rubber dinghies in Sabratha, the coastal UNESCO World Heritage Site in Libya that came under militant control earlier this year.

A commercial vessel rescued 26 people from one of the shipwrecks, and survivors were transferred to Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island, according to the International Organization for Migrations (IOM). The survivors said that one of the 84 people still missing was a newborn baby.

“The dinghy was taking on water, in very bad conditions. Many people had already fallen in the sea and drowned,” IOM Italy’s Flavio De Giacomo told the Guardian. “They were all very shocked.”

At least 105 people were rescued from the second shipwreck and brought to the Sicilian port city of Pozzallo, including eight who were in critical condition.

As of mid-April, roughly 97 percent (180,245 of the 184,599) of the migrants and refugees who had arrived in Europe this year used the perilous sea routes. Since January, at least 1,360 migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean have died or been reported missing at sea, according to the IOM’s latest report.

France Evacuates More Than 1,000 Migrants From Makeshift Camp In Paris

On Monday, French security forces evicted roughly 1,300 migrants from a makeshift camp near a Paris metro station where the majority had been living in tightly packed tents for months. For the third time in the past three months, Paris police cleared out the camp and migrants were taken by bus to reception centers.

Only 500 people were living in the camp, but when word of the transfer got out over the weekend, the number swelled to 1,350. The migrants were from a variety of countries, but the majority were from Sudan and Afghanistan, according to the Local.

“We’re happy to leave,” said Moustafa, a 24-year-old Afghan who had been at the camp for a month, told Agence France Presse (AFP.) “There were fights every night at the camp.”

Ile-de-France police prefect Jean-Francois Carenco said he expected most of the evacuated migrants to apply for asylum after the transfer. “Those who do not request asylum or who behave badly will be expelled. France is not a place for disorder and chaos,” he said.

Last week, French justice authorities announced they would examine a request to immediately evict roughly 150 migrants who took over a Parisian high school last week.

Second Self-Immolation This Week At Australia’s Nauru Migrant Processing Center

A young woman, believed to be a 21-year-old from Somalia, living in the Pacific’s Nauru Detention Center, one of Australia’s many offshore migrant detention facilities, set herself on fire on Monday. Her suicide attempt came after authorities forcibly removed her from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation last week and sent her back to Nauru.

This is the second self-immolation the center has seen in the past week, a sign of the migrants’ growing frustration at the desperate living conditions. On Friday, Omid, a 23-year-old Iranian refugee who was living in Nauru, succumbed to his wounds from self-immolation.

“We are distressed that refugees are attempting such dreadful acts in order to attempt to influence the Australian government’s immigration policies,” the Nauruan government said in a statement. “These actions are purely and simply being taken because they believe that political protests will influence the Australian government and possibly help them gain entry to Australia.”

The young woman, believed to be named Hadon, suffered severe burns and is being treated at Nauru’s local hospital where she remains in critical condition, according to the Guardian. An Australian trauma team is reportedly supervising her treatment.

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