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Executive Summary for June 13th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Nigeria’s agreement to repatriate 80,000 of its refugees from Cameroon, the rise in Colombia’s internally displaced persons and the closure of a refugee camp at the Greek-Macedonian border.

Published on June 13, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Nigeria Agrees to Repatriate 80,000 Refugees From Cameroon

Nigeria and Cameroon have signed an agreement with the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) on the “voluntary return” of 80,000 Nigerian refugees displaced in Cameroon by the Boko Haram insurgency, according to the AP.

Sunday’s announcement followed a weekend meeting between the director general of the National Emergency Management Agency, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, and Aisha Abdullahi, the African Union (A.U.) commissioner for political affairs who leads the organisation’s Humanitarian Mission to Nigeria, according to local media reports.

Sidi said the Nigerian government is now better able to meet the basic needs of the refugees. But according to some Nigerian officials, the new agreement was triggered by Cameroon’s threaten to forcibly repatriate Nigerian refugees, after abandoning thousands at its border with Nigeria. The AP added that, over the last month, Cameroon prevented Nigerians who had returned home from re-entering its territory.

According to the A.U., almost 2.2 million people fled their homes following attacks by Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgency group. About 2.1 million people are displaced within Nigeria, while U.N. figures estimate another 600,000 are displaced in the region.

Thousands have died during Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency to establish Islamic law in Nigeria. The violence has spilled over Nigeria’s borders to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Internal Displacement in Colombia on the Rise despite Peace Negotiations

Displacement in Colombia has increased over the last year, despite the progress made in peace negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to put an end to the country’s armed conflict.

According to a report released last week by local human rights organizations, at least 225,842 people from 961 municipalities were victims of forced displacement in 2015. This number is nearly a 10 percent increase from 2014.

A total of 7,345,023 people are now displaced in Colombia according to the same report. Women (53 percent), Afro-descendants (17 percent) and indigenous people (6 percent) are the most affected, while children account for more than a third of the displaced population.

Monitoring groups link this rise in forced displacement to armed struggles between neo-paramilitary groups attempting to gain territory and “capitalize on criminal opportunities” that will arise from the demobilization of the FARC, according to InSight Crime.

The unilateral cease-fire announced by the FARC almost a year ago has failed to reduce the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Colombia has one of the highest such populations in the world.

Greek Police Evacuate Migrant Camp Near Macedonian Border

Around 300 police officers began moving refugees out of a makeshift camp at Polykastro in northern Greece on Monday morning, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

“Everything is proceeding calmly for now,” an anonymous local police official told AFP.

Some 1,828 refugees, most of them Syrian Kurds, were evacuated from the makeshift settlement that had formed next to a gas station about 12 miles (19km) from the Macedonian border, according to AFP.

This informal settlement is one of many that formed in addition to the refugee camp in Idomeni, where 12,000 people had been waiting to cross over to Macedonia, until they were forcibly relocated.

This evacuation is part of a larger plan to transfer a total of about 4,000 refugees from makeshift camps to state-run reception centers. The operation will continue Tuesday, with the closure of another camp near the Macedonian border that hosts almost 2,000 refugees.

Only the state TV channel ERT and the national news agency, ANA, were permitted to cover Monday’s evacuation. All foreign journalists were blocked.

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