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Executive Summary for August 11th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Australia’s reaction to leaks detailing the abuse of detained migrants, children separated from their families at the Swiss border and Greek plans to step up migrant housing.

Published on Aug. 11, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Australia Says Refugees Lying About Abuse After Detention Center Exposé

Australia’s immigration minister Peter Dutton said some refugees and migrants detained on the Pacific island of Nauru have made up abuse allegations after a major exposé on conditions at the center.

The Guardian published some 2,000 leaked documents on August 10 detailing widespread self-harm, assault and sexual abuse at the Australian-run detention facility.

Refugee advocacy groups said the leaked incident reports are further evidence that Australia should revise its policy of intercepting migrant boats and detaining their passengers in two offshore camps, on Nauru and nearby Manus Island.

But Dutton, the official in charge of the policy, dismissed the report as containing little new information and unverified allegations, calling the resulting outcry “hype.”

“I have been made aware of some incidents that have reported false allegations of sexual assault, because in the end, people have paid money to people smugglers and they want to come to our country,” he told Australia’s 2GB radio.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said earlier the government would study the leaked documents, but rejected calls for a public inquiry and vowed to keep funding the Nauru detention center.

Unaccompanied Children Report Being Turned Away at Swiss Border

Child migrants in Italy told Amnesty International’s Swiss office that they were turned back at the Swiss border when trying to join their families.

The human rights group urged Switzerland to inform children of their rights and process their asylum claims.

Swiss authorities told Reuters that anyone seeking asylum in Switzerland could apply, but migrants intending to travel through the country to northern Europe required a valid permit. Border officials said the rules applied to adults and children alike.

Thousands of people are stranded in northern Italy after Switzerland tightened its border this year, some sheltering in the train station in the border city of Como and others in nearby Milan.

Switzerland has turned away some 8,300 people at its borders this year, compared to around 3,500 refusals during the same period in 2015.

Italy is once again the first country most refugees and migrants reach in Europe, after an E.U. deal with Turkey reduced crossings to Greece and the number of boats from northern Africa rose this summer.

Greece Aims to Close Camps and Increase Migrant Housing

Greece says it will either shut down or improve many of the government-run camps where thousands of migrants and refugees shelter in poor conditions.

Some 60,000 people are stranded in Greece after European nations shut their borders to irregular migrants earlier this year. Greek authorities, already grappling with an economic crisis, have struggled to provide them with safe, sanitary shelter.

Dimitris Vitsas, the Greek official in charge of immigration, said the government aims to close or upgrade the camps, and significantly increase the number of housing units for migrants and refugees in the country. Fewer than 7,000 migrants in Greece currently live in apartments and hotels, the Associated Press reports.

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