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Executive Summary for July 23rd

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a Russian proposal for Syrian returns, protest in Bavaria against the ‘politics of fear’ and a rescue charity pursuing a complaint over deaths off Libya’s coast.

Published on July 23, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Russia Proposes Coordination With U.S. to Return 1.7 Million Syrians

Russian president Vladimir Putin and U.S. president Donald Trump discussed returning Syrian refugees to Syria when they met last week, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo said. Russia’s defense ministry said it had sent a proposed action plan for organizing the return to Washington, which includes setting up joint monitoring groups in Jordan and Lebanon.

A defense ministry official said Russia believes 890,000 refugees could return from Lebanon, 300,000 from Turkey and 200,000 from the E.U. Lebanese leaders, who have fought with the U.N. refugee agency, which says Syria is not safe for returns, welcomed reports of a Russia-U.S. deal.

Thousands Protest ‘Politics of Fear’ in Bavaria

Thousands of Germans protested against right-wing populism in the capital of Bavaria, Munich. Some 15,000 people joined the rally against incitement and the “politics of fear,” which was supported by church groups, civil society and left-wing political parties.

They called out Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU) for “irresponsible divisive politics” after it threatened to bring down the coalition government over migration last month. The CSU is falling in the polls and is eyeing a right-flank challenge from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) when Bavaria holds state election in October.

Charity Pursues Case Over Dead Woman, Toddler Adrift off Libya

Sea rescuers filed a police complaint in Spain against the captain of a merchant ship it accused of failing to help a women and her toddler son left adrift at sea off Libya. The pair were found dead in an abandoned dinghy, along with one female survivor, last week.

The Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms brought them to Spain, saying they did not trust Italy to investigate. Open Arms also said it would file a complaint against the Libyan coast guard captain it accuses of leaving them at sea.

Recommended #MustReads

The Associated Press: Eritrean Diaspora Watches Ethiopia Thaw With Hope, Mistrust

“The fledgling peace is raising new questions for Eritrea’s diaspora, tens of thousands who fled their government’s tight grip, rigid system of compulsory military conscription and endemic poverty. Now they are cautiously waiting to see how the truce will shape their homeland and perhaps offer them a chance to return.”

The Washington Post: Jordan Shut out 60,000 Syrian Refugees – and Then Saw a Backlash. This Is Why.

“Despite having far fewer resources than wealthy countries in Europe and North America, Jordan has done far more for Syrian refugees fleeing from the terrible civil war. Its government has every right to ask that the international community do more to help. But the Jordanian government can also do more to assist refugees, and our research suggests that it is unlikely to face a public backlash for doing so.”

IRIN: In Appreciation: Barbara Harrell-Bond, Refugee Advocate and Researcher, 1932–2018

“Disturbed by the idea of a refugee studies centre isolated in the ivory tower of Oxford, she worked with colleagues to establish the Refugee Law Project at the University of Makerere, Uganda, and refugee studies centres at Moi University in Kenya, the American University in Cairo and others. Out of these centres have come many of the strongest and most interesting voices in refugee studies today, including academics who are or have been refugees themselves.”


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