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Executive Summary for May 2nd

We review the latest refugee issues, including Rwandan police arresting Congolese refugees following a deadly protest, U.K. legislators backing post-Brexit family reunification for child refugees and a protest amid renewed displacement in Myanmar’s Kachin state.

Published on May 2, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Rwandan Police Storm Camp That Staged Protest at UNHCR Office

Rwandan authorities arrested at least 23 refugees at a camp whose recent protest at the offices of the United Nations refugee agency turned deadly.

Rwandan police flooded Kiziba camp in recent days, leading to clashes with its mostly Congolese refugee residents. Refugees told Reuters that at least one of them was killed when police fired teargas and live ammunition.

“This is unbelievable to see refugees being harassed like this,” Kiziba resident Shyaka Elie told Reuters. “As refugees, we also used stones, but we were trying to defend ourselves.”

Police said 23 refugees were arrested for attacking police officers. Another 21 are still in custody following the February protest, in which thousands of refugees marched to a local UNHCR headquarters to demand their rights amid ration cuts and efforts to integrate displaced persons into national systems.

After three days, the sit-in was broken up by police, and at least 11 refugees were killed on February 22. Refugees Deeply reported that the response to their deaths by both Rwandan authorities and UNHCR left refugees feeling even more vulnerable.

“We are Congolese and we want to go back home even if it is not safe there. We are not safe here either,” Elie told Reuters after the latest violence. UNHCR’s Rwanda office did not respond to Refugees Deeply’s request for comment about the new arrests.

U.K. Lords Back Allowing Child Refugees to Join Family Post-Brexit

Britain’s upper house of parliament backed a legal amendment that would allow child refugees to still be able to reunite with family in the U.K. after the country leaves the E.U.

Lord Alf Dubs, who fled Nazi-occupied Europe as a child, introduced the amendment to the European Union (withdrawal) bill, which was passed by the House of Lords. The bill will return to the lower House of Commons before becoming law.

Child refugees in Europe are currently able to reunite with their families under the Dublin III E.U. regulation, which expires upon Brexit next March.

“If the E.U. withdrawal bill is not amended, Britain will close off the main legal route through which young people stuck in camps in Europe can be reunited with their families in Britain,” Dubs said.

Protest Urges Aid Access as Thousands Displaced in Kachin, Myanmar

Protesters have demanded humanitarian access to civilians in Myanmar’s Kachin state amid renewed fighting and displacement.

Thousands of people rallied in the Kachin state capital on April 30 urging safe passage of aid to people trapped by the fighting between Myanmar’s military and the Kachin Independence Army.

The long-fought conflict escalated last month, causing more than 5,000 people to flee their homes. Aid workers told Reuters at least 2,000 people have been trapped in a forest for two weeks by the fighting.

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