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Executive Summary for August 1st

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including Costa Rica in need of help to respond to Nicaragua refugees, aid groups blaming Italy for return of rescued migrants to Libya, and Russia pushing Syrian returns plan with Turkey.

Published on Aug. 1, 2018 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

U.N. Calls for Support as Costa Rica Overwhelmed by Nicaraguan Refugees

The U.N. refugee agency called for help for “overwhelmed” Costa Rica in supporting Nicaraguan refugees. Some 8,000 Nicaraguans have filed for asylum in Costa Rica since protests and crackdowns began in April this year, with another 15,000 waiting on appointments to do so. The UNHCR said Costa Rica is receiving roughly 200 asylum applications per day.

Opposition activists, protesting against the rule of President Daniel Ortega, have erected barricades all over the country to disrupt movement. Nicaragua’s Pro-Human Rights Association said almost 450 people have been killed in operations to dismantle the barricades, but the government said the figure is 195.

Aid Groups Blame Italy as Migrants Intercepted at Sea Are Returned to Libya

Italy has denied involvement in the interception and return of 108 asylum seekers to Libya. An Italian-flagged vessel said it took migrants ashore under the direction of the Libyan coast guard. The U.N. refugee agency and rights groups said the return violated international law, which stipulates people rescued at sea must be delivered to a safe port.

Nicola Fratoianni, an Italian politician aboard the Proactiva rescue ship, warned that “a very serious precedent” would be set if the Asso Ventotto supply ship took people to Libya on the orders of the Italian coast guard.

Russia Pushes Syrian Returns Plan in Turkey

Russia has discussed a plan for the mass return of Syrian refugees from Turkey. Moscow sent a special envoy to Ankara with details of proposals to return some of the 3.5 million Syrians currently being hosted in Turkey.

“The country needs help in hosting that many people,” said Alexander Lavrentyev, the Russian president’s special envoy for Syria. “This is why we have raised the question when we were in Ankara and emphasized the need to make a plan of activities aimed at the return of refugees to their places of permanent residence.”

Recommended #MustReads

“The abandoned building was five minutes inland from the sea, close to the town’s tiny stadium with its single west stand. But it was only a field away from what is possibly the most fascinating and perplexing building in Italy: Hotel House, a semi-derelict tower block that has become synonymous, in the Italian imagination, with drug dealing, prostitution and clandestine migrants.”

“In New York City, refugees have more than 1,400 local experiences to choose from. They can take a four-hour group tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, for example, that departs from Battery Park and includes access to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Or, they can book a daylong tour via bus and boat to see some of the city’s top attractions such as the 9/11 Memorial, Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Bridge.”

“Border checks are no longer one-off encounters between border guards and immigrants confined to the geographical borders of states, but are routinely repeated in a myriad of micro-encounters. They have penetrated the everyday, mundane interactions in people’s daily lives and imposed new meaning on them. Pregnant women avoiding interactions with their GPs or cutting short their stay in hospital after delivery for fear of being reported to the Home Office for their immigration status is but one example.”

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