Telling Lies On An International Scale

The mainstream media have been replete with stories of a new Tory “red meat” initiative of right-wing policies.

“Government sources” briefed the media that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Home Secretary Priti Patel were in talks with their counterparts in Ghana and Rwanda about setting up internment camps to receive asylum seekers deported from the U.K.

Apart from the fact it would be entirely illegal to deport Syrians or Afghans to Africa, I knew it to be simply impossible the story was true. I have had the pleasure of being friends with President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana, and with many of his family, for 20 years. Nana would never agree to such a thing; his background is as a human rights lawyer and activist.

Continue reading

If All Refugees Lived In One Place, It Would Be The 17th Most Populous Country

On 5 October, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a historic, non-legally binding resolution that ‘recognises the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right that is important for the enjoyment of human rights’. Such a right should force governments who sit at the table at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow later this month to think about the grievous harm caused by the polluted system that shapes our lives. In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) pointed out that 92% of the world’s population breathes toxic air quality; in the developing world, 98% of children under five are inflicted with such bad air. Polluted air, mostly from carbon emissions, results in 13 deaths per minute globally.

Continue reading

Afghan Activist: We All Deserve Refuge, Not Just Those Who Served The US

Following the Taliban’s seizure of power, people across the political spectrum have expressed concern about the fate of Afghans who helped the United States and are therefore at risk of retribution. (This concern is not universal: We are also seeing a rise in far-right, anti-Afghan refugee sentiment.) Pundits and politicians who gave little attention to civilian deaths in Afghanistan during 20 years of U.S. occupation are joining in this outpouring — a dynamic that is building pressure for the Biden administration to extend the U.S. military presence.

The Biden administration has stopped evacuating Afghans by air, citing the bombings on the airport, but continues to airlift Americans from the country as the August 31 deadline approaches. Biden claims evacuations of Afghan allies will resume post-withdrawal.

Continue reading

Dying To Be Regularized: Migrants On Hunger Strike

Farida is 51 years old. She was born in Belgium. Her entire family has the Belgian nationality. Farida has a steady job. She cleans offices and public buildings, for €6-8 per hour. Her last application for a regularization of her administrative status got rejected and she has received a state-issued order to leave the territory.

Kiran fled a civil war in Nepal 16 years ago and applied for asylum in Belgium. While his asylum request was still pending, he got a job that paid €10 an hour. When his asylum claim got rejected, his wage fell to €2.5 an hour. His daughter, born in Belgium, is now five years old and speaks fluent Flemish, which she learned at school. The family submitted five applications to be regularized, they were all rejected.

Continue reading

War And Climate Disasters Displaced A Record Of 55 Million People In 2020

Amid a raging global pandemic, a record 55 million people were displaced from their homes but still living in their countries by the end of 2020, according to the latest report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.

While the figures have been increasing steadily for over a decade, as per the Geneva-based center’s annual reports, ferocious storms, floods and conflicts displaced more people within their own country in 2020 – in spite of the global pandemic – than in any other year covered by the IDMC’s reporting. Shockingly, the report found that internally displaced people outnumbered refugees, those who flee to another country, by a ratio of two to one. 

The research center, which is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), also cautioned that their figures were likely a “significant underestimate” as global pandemic travel restrictions frustrated efforts to more accurately collect data. 

Continue reading

The Israeli Apartheid State May Be Reaching A Breaking Point

You won’t hear this in the corporate media but the struggle for Palestinian rights is gaining power and that is why there is an escalation by the Zionists to hold onto their power. Author and activist Miko Peled provides an update on what we need to know including a new study about the Palestinian refugee crisis, the status of the annexation of the West Bank, what is behind Arab states normalizing relations with the Israeli state, the new definition of anti-Semitism that is spreading and the current political instability in Israel. He also talks about the incoming Biden-Harris administration in terms of what that means for the Palestinian struggle and what activists should be demanding.

Continue reading

Police Launch Violent Crackdown On Paris Refugee Camp

French riot police went on a fascistic rampage Monday evening, brutally assaulting a peaceful tent camp of some 500 refugees at the Place de la République in central Paris.

Police used teargas, kicked and beat migrants with batons, tipped refugees out of their tents and assaulted them on the ground. Journalists filming the crackdown were also assaulted. The riot officers threw dozens of confiscated tents into trucks and drove them away.

After the square was cleared, a group of several hundred homeless refugees were forced to march north until they reached the outer suburbs around the city, pursued by police throwing teargas canisters as they went.

Continue reading

You Can’t Go Home Again

I saw them for only a few seconds. One glimpse and they were gone. The young woman wore a brown headwrap, a yellow short-sleeved shirt, and a long pink, red, and blue floral-patterned skirt. She held the reins of the donkey pulling her rust-pink cart. Across her lap lay an infant. Perched beside her at the edge of the metal wagon was a young girl who couldn’t have been more than eight. Some firewood, rugs, woven mats, rolled-up clothing or sheets, a dark green plastic tub, and an oversized plastic jerry can were lashed to the bed of the cart. Three goats tied to the rear of it ambled along behind.

Continue reading

Oxford Study Challenges Israel’s Claims Concerning Palestinian Refugees

There needs to be a fundamental change in the way Palestinian refugees are seen, no longer as victims but as people with rights who are entitled to shape their own destiny. This assertion is made in a new study whose importance cannot be overstated.

According to international law, Palestinian refugees have a right to return to their homes and land and receive restitution and compensation for their suffering and personal and communal losses. Furthermore, the State of Israel, which is responsible for Palestine’s ethnic cleansing, must pay for the repatriation, the rehabilitation, and the rebuilding that the return will necessitate.

Continue reading

Report: So-Called US War On Terror Has Displaced As Many As 59 Million People

The ongoing U.S. “war on terror” has forcibly displaced as many as 59 million people from just eight countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia since 2001, according to a new report published Tuesday by Brown University’s Costs of War Project.

“U.S. involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States have grappled with or reckoned with in even the slightest terms.” 
—David Vine, American University

Titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars” (pdf), the new report conservatively estimates that at least 37 million people have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

Continue reading

Rescuers Penalized For Saving Lives At The World’s Deadliest Border

Humanitarian organizations are being penalized for fulfilling responsibilities abandoned by European governments at the world’s deadliest border, activists have warned after an eventful weekend in the Mediterranean.

Late on Friday, the Louise Michel rescue ship was alerted by a charity reconnaissance plane Moonbird to a boat carrying 130 refugees in distress inside Malta’s search-and-rescue zone.

The ship, funded by street artist Banksy and run by a seasoned team of rescuers, had already picked up 89 people in previous operations and so, unable to bring everyone on board, the crew waited for hours into Saturday for Malta or Italy to assist.

“A crew of 10 is now onboard a 30m ship with 219 survivors,” Lousie Michel tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “[Thirty-three] are still on a life raft and one deceased person in a body bag.”

Continue reading

Villages That Rescued Thousands During WWII Continue To Welcome Refugees

Just as I was about to launch “City of Refuge” last fall, a new book came out on Le Chambon — the French village that was at the center of a remarkable World War II rescue operation. Having just read 10 or so other books on the subject over the past few years, I wasn’t exactly ready to read another. I just couldn’t imagine what new information I would learn at this point.

Then I got an email from Patrick Henry, the author of another book on Le Chambon, “We Only Know Men.” He had just read the new release — which is very simply titled “The Plateau” (a reference to Le Chambon’s remote mountain location) — and he was excited to tell me about it.

“‘The Plateau’ is beautifully written,” Henry said, “and it shows what no other book shows: that the people on the plateau continue to do the same rescue today — as they did in the 16th-century and during the Holocaust.”

Continue reading

The Refugee Industry & Australia’s Still Burning – Coal

Caged for seeking freedom – migrants and refugees in the land of the free. Next, zooming out on the global refugee industry – because yes, that too – is a booming business. Finally, global droughts, and the fires of human folly; coal scare tactics leading Australia’s climate policy and how grassroots climate activists are fighting a massive mining project in the midst of a firestorm.

Continue reading

A Juarez Refugee Christmas

As temperatures dip near or below freezing, scores of Mexican refugees huddle in their makeshift tents of layered plastic sheeting at the foot of the Santa Fe Bridge that connects Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, with El Paso, Texas. Many small children form part of the group. No colorfully wrapped packages wait below a Christmas tree. No heart warming lyrics from mariachi singers enliven the site, though a small figurine of the Virgin of Guadalupe watches over the people who wait and wait and wait for their chance to argue a case for political asylum in the United States.

Continue reading