HEADLINES: Refugees

Published On: Donate

Australia’s mandatory detention of boatpeople is to come under fresh legal scrutiny with a refugee advocate unveiling a High Court challenge to government security checks of detainees. Lawyer David Manne, who succeeded in having Canberra’s so-called people-swap deal with Malaysia struck down by the High Court last year, said he was preparing a new case against the government’s mandatory detention policy. Australia had to relax its refugee policy after the High Court declared invalid its plan to send 800 boatpeople to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 proven refugees, a ruling that also scuttled its offshore processing plans. Thousands of asylum-seekers have since been released into the community to await their visa ruling in a bid to relieve pressure on detention facilities as a steady stream of people-smuggling boats continue to arrive from Asia. [AFP]

Truckloads of refugees are arriving in South Sudan’s Yida border area from neighboring Sudan’s Nuba Mountains every day, including many malnourished children. To address this problem urgently, all new arrivals aged six months to five years are taken to the health screening center run by the non-governmental organization, Samaritan’s Purse. Their weight and height are measured, as well as the length and circumference of their upper arms to screen for malnutrition. They are given high energy biscuits and the severely malnourished are referred to the nutrition center for treatment. Yida now hosts some 35,000 refugees from the Nuba Mountains. The pace of arrivals -averaging 430 refugees a day – is expected to remain high before the roads are cut off during the rainy season. [UNHCR]

The New Hampshire Senate has killed a bill that would have let cities and towns enact moratoriums of up to one year on allowing refugees to settle in their communities. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas has pushed for the moratorium due to the demands for services on his city. The House had wanted to negotiate a compromise on the issue, but the Senate rejected that request Wednesday. Scott Spradling, spokesman for Granite Staters for Strong Communities, praised the vote, saying lawmakers should focus instead on the economic, cultural and social benefits of refugee resettlement in New Hampshire. [Associated Press]

Since descending upon New Delhi more than a month ago, ethnic Rohingyas from Myanmar have been rounded up twice by police and ordered to leave, but the stateless group is determined to get the Indian government to recognize them as refugees. An estimated 2,500 people originally from the Rakhine state in Myanmar, had been living in a makeshift camp near Vasant Kunj in southwest Delhi. India is not a signatory to the United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees, which defines who qualifies as a refugee and refugees’ rights in their host country. Since there is no national law that deals with foreign refugees, the government will decide whether or not to grant the Rohingyas refugee status on a case-by-case basis. [NYTimes]

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