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Executive Summary for May 6th

We review the latest developments on refugee issues, including airstrikes killing scores of internally displaced people in Syria, the coming together of Italy and Germany on refugee policies and officials trying to placate distressed asylum seekers on Nauru, Micronesia.

Published on May 6, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Airstrikes on Syrian Refugee Camp Kills at Least 28

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that airstrikes on a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Idlib province in northwestern Syria killed at least 28 and injured 50.

Journalists based inside the country could not verify if the aircraft was Russian or Syrian, according to a Guardian report, which said that the al-Kammouna camp that was attacked houses as many as 500 tents, with six or seven members per household.

U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien has called the attack a “war crime,” according to an Associated Press report.

The strike followed the recent extension of a truce between the warring parties.

Saying there was “no justifiable excuse” for airstrikes against civilians who had fled their homes to escape violence, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest claimed that he did not believe that U.S. or coalition aircraft were operating in the area, the Associated Press reported.

Amid Suicides, Nauru Chief Asks for Patience From Refugees

Following two attempted suicides by refugees held on the Micronesian island of Nauru, the government is trying to generate harmony between the refugees and locals, despite holding all asylum seekers in detention centers.

The refugees at Nauru are amongst the groups of people hoping for asylum that the Australian government has “outsourced” to neighboring islands, instead of allowing them to apply on its own territory.

Meanwhile, the government of Nauru has called for “unity between Nauruans and the island nation’s refugees,” according to an ABC report.

This statement was in reaction to self-immolation by two Iranian refugees – one of whom died, while the other is in critical condition, according to the same report.

Australia’s deterrence policies have roused the ire of humanitarian groups and the U.N. especially since 2013, when the government in power “introduced Operation Sovereign Borders, which put the military in control of asylum operations,” according to the BBC.

Additionally, Australia set up offshore detention centers at Manus Island, Nauru and Christmas Island, which are run by “massive global companies,” according to recent investigations.

The U.N. has reported that only 1 percent of applicants for asylum worldwide received asylum in Australia in 2014.

Italy and Germany Begin Cooperation on Refugee Policies

German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi have opposed the obstruction of the Brenner Pass planned by Austria to stem the flow of migrants.

“We expressed our clear disagreement and shock at certain positions taken by our Austrian friends at the Brenner,” P.M. Renzi said, according to the Financial Times.

“Either we defend our external borders and we do it together or we risk falling back into nationalism,” Chancellor Merkel added.

But the two countries are yet to agree on financial commitments and ways of coping with the current rates of arrivals.

Italy has presented a “migration compact” proposal, whereby Europe would offer financial incentives to African nations to develop their local economies. Italy has also suggested that such programs be “financed by issuing common E.U. bonds,” according a Reuters report. But Germany has not yet agreed to such long-term investments.

At least 29,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat so far this year, with expectations that the closing down of the Turkey-Greece route will prompt a greater number of arrivals to Italy from the North African coast over the summer months.

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