Headlines: Refugees

This past week, Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in Turkey held long and loud antigovernment protests next to the barbed-wire border, reveling in the absence of the security forces that violently dispersed protests elsewhere in Syria. For the last month, refugees have fled to the border zone from across the rural northwestern province of Idlib, where security forces burned fields and assaulted communities to try to tame a string of antigovernment protest which has left more than 1,400 people dead and at least 10,000 detained. [New York Times]

According to the aid group Save the Children, more than 800 Somali children are arriving at crowded refugee camps in Kenya daily after walking for days to escape a prolonged drought. About 10 million people are at risk of starvation as the Horn of Africa region faces the worst drought in 60 years, according to the United Nations. The influx of refugees in the Dadaab area has worsened conditions in the camp built for 90,000 people, but housing more than 350,000 refugees. [CNN]

The UNHCR may not sign off on Australia’s proposed refugee swap with Malaysia that would have Australia accept and resettle 4,000 registered refugees currently living in Malaysia. In return, Malaysia would accept 800 asylum seekers from Australia in an attempt to stem the tide of boats arriving on its shores and dismantle people-smuggling operations. The plan has sparked growing discomfort, with Malaysia not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, nor having ratified the UN Convention against Torture. [AFP]

According to Refugees International, the number of people fleeing homes in Afghanistan has more than doubled compared to this time last year. The humanitarian group warns that Afghans continue to be driven from their homes by coalition air strikes and special forces raids. A U.S. State Department’s spokeswoman said Friday that despite President Obama’s announcement to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan within the next 15 months, the United States is committed to Afghanistan’s long-term stability. [CNN]

According to figures published by the UNHCR, in May, more than 175,800 Ivorian refugees, including 2,000 children,  had crossed the border into Liberia since last November’s disputed election. The camp was built in January in an attempt to ease the pressure on the border towns that were filling up with Ivorians fleeing post-election violence. Thousands more have reportedly fled to Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana. [Guardian]

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