Headlines: Refugees

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About 200 people drowned in the Red Sea when a boat carrying migrants to Saudi Arabia sank off Sudan’s coast after catching fire. Only three people have been rescued, according to the Sudanese Media Centre. A governing party official told the BBC he believed the passengers were Somalis likely to be fleeing the drought. The Red Sea is a well-known trafficking route for migrants wanting to reach Saudi Arabia and Yemen. [BBC]

The levels of malnutrition among children fleeing Somalia’s drought could lead to a “human tragedy of unimaginable proportions”, the UN refugee head Antonio Guterres has said. It estimates that a quarter of Somalis are either displaced within the country or living outside as refugees. The warning comes as the UK aid agencies Oxfam, Save the Children, and the Red Cross launch emergency appeals in response to the food crisis which is affecting more than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa. The agencies are collectively asking for nearly $150m. [BBC]

The Australian Federal Government is facing a second High Court challenge over its refugee swap deal with Malaysia. The court action will challenge the Government’s right to detain people without determining their refugee status. The proposed refugee swap with Malaysia would have Australia accept and resettle 4,000 registered refugees currently living in Malaysia. In return, Malaysia would accept 800 asylum seekers from Australia. [ABC News]

In the last week, hundreds of families fleeing Tripoli have arrived at a rebel checkpoint in the mountains of Libya where they hope they can escape the violence that continues to target wanted men. The sudden surge of traffic at this checkpoint comes as the Nafusah rebels try to consolidate their hold on towns in the region in battles on at least three fronts. [New York Times]

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