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Executive Summary for June 7th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including dozens of Ethiopians drowning off the coast of Yemen, Myanmar signing a deal with U.N. agencies for future returns and the German state of Bavaria’s migration deportation plans.

Published on June 7, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Dozens of Ethiopians Drown off Coast of Yemen

At least 46 Ethiopians drowned when a boat bringing them from Somalia to Yemen sank as it approached the war-torn country, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The boat was carrying around 83 men and 17 women before the shipwreck. Another 16 people are missing.

The Ethiopians were hoping to find work in the Gulf, the IOM said. Thousands of Africans arrive each month seeking to travel through Yemen to Gulf economies, risking both a dangerous crossing and an active war zone.

The IOM has evacuated some of those stuck amid the fighting, including 51 Ethiopian women and 33 children it took to Djibouti this week.

“This has to end,” IOM director of operations and emergencies Mohammad Abdiker said after the latest drowning.

Myanmar Signs Deal With U.N. Over Returns

Myanmar and two U.N. agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate future refugee returns that was announced last week without making the text public.

The U.N. refugee and development agencies said the agreement is a “first and necessary step to establish a framework for cooperation … aimed at creating conducive conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of refugees.”

Rights groups note that Myanmar has not yet taken any steps to assure Rohingya they will find rights and justice upon return. The government’s statement about the MOU did not mention the word Rohingya; many in Myanmar deny the ethnic group exists.

“There’s still been no movement to ensure Rohingya have equal access to full citizenship,” said Matthew Smith, the head of advocacy group Fortify Rights. “Discourse around repatriation now unfortunately appears to be [an] attempt by authorities to distract from mass atrocities and crimes taken place.”

German State of Bavaria Aims to Speed Up Deportations

The regional government of the state of Bavaria announced new measures to speed up deportation of rejected asylum seekers.

While Germany’s federal government processes asylum applications, it is the responsibility of regional governments to enforce deportation orders.

The Bavarian government plans to establish seven processing centers for asylum seekers waiting for decisions, during which time they will receive vouchers instead of cash and participate in community service.

The state will charter its own deportation flights, rather than relying on federally funded deportations.

“We want to show that the rule of law here is functional and could be a model for all of Germany,” Bavarian premier Markus Soeder said.

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