Tag: refugee

Pakistan: Coerced Refugee Return Endangers Thousands

Pakistani authorities should cease coercive measures and other abuses that are driving tens of thousands of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, Human Rights Watch said today. The Pakistani government should extend legal residency status to Afghan refugees until at least December 31, 2017.
“Pakistani authorities are increasingly committing abuses against Afghan refugees that are triggering a mass refugee return,” said Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should rein in its abusive security forces and ensure the refugees secure status and protection.”

Yezidi refugees: stranded sisterhood unites to draw strength through adversity

Two years ago, the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) swept across northern Iraq in a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing against minority communities.

They abducted thousands of Yezidi men, women and children forcing them to convert to Islam and killed hundreds of men in cold blood. Captured women and girls were subjected to torture, including rape, forcibly married, ‘sold’ or given as ‘gifts’ to IS fighters or their supporters and forced into sexual slavery. Boys were separated from their families and sent to training military camps.

An estimated 3,800 Yezidi women and children still remain captive. Hundreds of thousands are internally displaced in Iraq. Many others became refugees.

Team Refugee and the Normalization of Mass Displacement

As refugees take the Olympic stage, the wars that sent them running for their lives continue apace.

It was after midnight when the small refugee Olympic team strode into the stadium in Rio, the very last before host country Brazil’s huge contingent danced in to the samba-driven opening ceremonies. Ten amazing athletes, originally from four separate countries but sharing their status as unable to return home, marching under the Olympic flag.

It was an extraordinary sight — moving and powerful far beyond the cheering for the national teams.

Some of them — the young Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini in particular — had become familiar to many, her story told and retold in the run up to the games. It was an amazing story indeed. She and her sister, both top swimmers in their native Syria, had been forced by the brutality of the civil war to flee. Like so many hundreds of thousands before and after them, they managed to find places on an overcrowded rubber dinghy for the last leg from the Turkish coast to safety in Greece.

Preparing for Ramadan in the Refugee Camps

Fasting in a refugee camp is not easy, but by observing Ramadan’s rituals refugees are clawing back an element of their own agency.

A week away from the beginning of Ramadan, refugees and NGOs acting in the camps across Greece are getting ready for the annual Muslim ritual that requires its followers to fast from sunrise to sunset for one whole month. This year, the holy month of Ramadan starts on June 6 and will last until July 6.

Despite the harsh living conditions, the expected long days, and hot weather, a majority of refugees – including pregnant women and young children – pledge that they will fast. “Our faith is all we have left and we are not going to give that up too,” says Zaida, a Syrian mother of three young boys. She insists her eldest son, Ramadan, aged seven, will fast too.

Syrian Refugees Refute and Undermine ISIS Propaganda

For the past several months, Syrian refugees have faced dizzying array of criticism from U.S. politicians who have proposed banning new refugees from Syria, prohibiting all Muslim immigration, deporting Syrians already in the United States, and much else. Yet despite the rhetoric and anti-refugee proposals, Syrian refugees across the United States are still defending their newly adopted country.

‘How can you say no?’

After nearly five years of war in Syria, its tiny neighbour Lebanon has the highest concentration of refugees in the world. But while an overstretched government is increasingly hostile, some Palestinian residents are bucking the trend, responding with great generosity – across the religious divide. Reem Haddad reports.