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Executive Summary for June 9th

We review the most recent issues related to refugees, including a top African migrant trafficker extradited to Italy, the plight of unaccompanied refugee minors in Sweden and an increase in attacks on Austria’s migrant centers this year.

Published on June 9, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Top African Migrant Trafficker Extradited to Italy

A top migrant trafficker was extradited to Italy on Wednesday from Sudan where he was arrested in May.

Medhanie Yehdego Mered, 35, also known as “The General,” had a “senior position in a criminal network operating in several continents,” Italian police said in a statement.

“He directed operations not only in Africa, but also kept fellow operators in Italy up to date on the arrival of boats, to enable the migrants to continue to their final destinations [in Europe],” the police added.

This is Italy’s first arrest of a top human trafficker in Africa, according to Deutsche-Welle.

“Mered is accused of being the advocate and boss of one of the most important criminal groups operating in central Africa and Libya that smuggles people first across the Sahara Desert and then the Mediterranean Sea,” said prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi.

Care in Short Supply for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in Sweden

An unprecedented number of unaccompanied refugee children are arriving in Sweden and many of them are not receiving adequate care, according to a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.

The report was based on interviews with some 50 refugee children living across seven municipalities. Its findings showed “shortcomings in the system that prevent children from receiving the care guaranteed by international standards and Swedish law.”

“Sweden has been a global leader in providing sanctuary to unaccompanied children and has taken positive steps to respond to a surge in arrivals,” Rebecca Riddell, the Europe and Central Asia fellow at HRW, said in a statement released on Thursday. “But gaps in the system compound the suffering and anxiety of children who arrive in Sweden alone and who have already gone through more than any child should have to bear.”

At least 35,000 children sought asylum in Sweden in 2015, the majority of them from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq and Ethiopia. Roughly 50 percent are under the age of 15. Many of these children faced violence and conflict in their home countries and were separated from their families while traveling to Europe.

“You have no choice. If you stay in Libya, they can kill you,” Saare V, a 16-year-old unaccompanied minor in Sweden from Ethiopia told HRW.

Sweden saw a sharp increase in arrivals of unaccompanied minors in 2015, compared to 2014, which saw only some 7,000 refugee children apply for asylum.

Increase in Attacks on Austria’s Migrant Centers This Year

There have been at least 13 attacks on migrant centers in Austria between January and March of this year, according to the Austrian Interior Ministry.

“This trend apparently continued into the first quarter,” Interior Ministry spokesperson Karl-Heinz Grundböck told the Austrian Press Agency. “There is no justification and zero tolerance for criminal actions.”

In 2015, Austria saw 25 attacks on migrant centers over the entire year..

Last week, a new migrant arrival center in Austria was set ablaze in an apparent arson attack, causing $335,000 in damages. The Red Cross owned the center and vowed to rebuild it, Voice of America reported.

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