Headlines: Refugees

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10 former refugees met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to advocate for refugee resettlement reform as part of an advocacy day led by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Visits included trips to the offices of Rep. Lofgren, Sen. Leahy, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Marco Rubio, and the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and focused on policy that has remained virtually unchanged for the past two decades. Of particular interest to participants was the recent introduction of the Refugee Resettlement Act of 2011 which would allow migrant children who have been separated from their families to reunite with family members. [Huffington Post]

Syrian troops have advanced to within several miles of the crossing point into Turkey used by the majority of fleeing citizens, forcing more panicked refugees to rush across the border. Diplomatic tensions have been increasing between Damascus and Ankara, with Turkey openly saying Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s continued violent suppression of demonstrators is testing its patience. Turkey is hosting around 11,000 Syrian refugees who have fled a series of fierce crackdowns across the volatile border. Around 600 are believed to have crossed into Turkey yesterday. [The Guardian]

More than 1,500 Chin refugees gathered in New Delhi’s central Jantar Mantar area to mark World Refugee Day. According to the Chin Refugee Committee in New Delhi, the Chins, who faced particular discrimination at the hands of Myanmar’s militia junta because of their dominantly Christian religious leanings, started coming to India after the failed students’ uprising of 1988. There are more than 80,000 Burmese refugees living in India, over 90% of them of Chin ethnicity. [The Wall Street Journal]

The United Nations urged all governments on Tuesday to refrain from sending back Haitians to their country, where many people still live in dire conditions in Haiti 18 months after an earthquake that killed more than 300,000 and initially leaving more than 1.5 million homeless. An estimated 680,000 quake survivors are staying in 1,000 tented camps in Port-au-Prince and other stricken areas. Aid workers are preparing for a new cholera outbreak as the rainy season threatens to revive an epidemic that has killed nearly 5,000 people since October. [Reuters]

Over the last two weeks, northern Sudanese forces have led an assault in the volatile Nuba Mountains region of southern Kordofan. In surrounding areas, the Sudanese government has acknowledged carrying out an aerial bombardment, forcing tens of thousands to flee. Humanitarian officials say thousands of civilians have gathered here in the thatch-roofed villages of Panyang and Parieng, just within the cusp of southern Sudan. Many of them are Nubans, but officials warned that because Sudan is still one country (southern Sudan is due to formally separate from the north on July 9), they would not qualify for refugee status. [New York Times]

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