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Executive Summary for June 20th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the number of displaced people hitting a new high for the fifth year, Spain’s plans to reinstate free healthcare for undocumented migrants, and a draft E.U. statement reacting to politics in Italy and Germany.

Published on June 20, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

More People Displaced Than Ever Before

For the fifth year in a row, the U.N. refugee agency found that more people have fled their homes than any previous year on record. Some 68.5 million people around the world were displaced by the end of 2017, including 25.4 million refugees – an increase of 2.9 million from 2016.

The vast majority of refugees – 85 percent – live in developing countries, most neighboring their own country, according to UNHCR’s Global Trends report. The agency said rising displacement is driven by violence in Myanmar, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Universal Healthcare for Undocumented Migrants in Spain

The Spanish government is drafting legislation to reinstate undocumented migrants’ access to the country’s universal healthcare. The bill is expected to gain the backing of parliament.

Free healthcare benefits were cut by the previous center-right government. The new socialist premier Pedro Sanchez pointedly took in more than 600 people on board the NGO ship Aquarius last week after they were turned away by Italy and Malta.

A Deeper Look

Politico: 4 Ways Pedro Sanchez Is Copying the Trudeau Playbook

“If the Trudeau template works for Sanchez and his Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), it will be a boost to dispirited Social Democrats across Europe – a sign that center-left politics in a fresh wrapper can work on the Continent and they don’t have to create a new movement like Emmanuel Macron in France or take a sharp left turn like Jeremy Corbyn in Britain.”

Draft E.U. Statement Tries to Quell Europe’s Political Crisis Over Migration

A joint E.U. statement drafted ahead of next week’s summit, which was obtained by reporters, attempts to respond to migration hard-liners in both Italy and Germany.

The draft statement urges E.U. countries to cooperate to stop migrants moving between countries irregularly and revives a proposal to open “disembarkation platforms” in North Africa to decide asylum claims.

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition faces collapse over an ultimatum from her interior minister to get a deal from the E.U. or close the country’s borders. Italy’s new far-right interior minister has shut his country’s ports to NGO rescue boats to force Europe to share responsibility for migrant arrivals.

Recommended #MustReads

“You’re never just a student, a law graduate, a lawyer. The word refugee stalks you through life prefixed to any other subsequent identity you develop in post-refugee life. A ‘refugee’ felt like a prior identity, a political status once ascribed to me that suggested vulnerability, inferiority, alienness, pity – everything I wanted to remove from my idea of myself.”

“By intimidating journalists who cover the refugee story, some governments are not only seeking to conceal their violations of international humanitarian law but also to ensure that their questionable political decisions are ignored or can even be denied outright.”

“To help demonstrate where [multinational corporations], regional and local businesses, and other actors are best positioned to expand economic opportunities for refugees, we created an interactive tool to map the locations of refugees, and analyzed the extent to which refugees overlap with major urban areas in 31 of the 37 developing countries hosting at least 25,000 refugees.”

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