IRIN NEWS: How a fingerprint can change an asylum seeker’s life

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When Anas Obeid was deported from Germany and landed at Milan’s Malpensa airport, the wound in his leg was still bleeding. German police had woken him up at 4 that morning, 22 September, in the refugee accommodation centre where he was staying in the northern Bavarian town of Bamberg. They put him in the back of a van with metal grates in the windows, and drove him two hours to the airport in Munich. The blood had soaked through his trousers during the ride, as German police discovered during a pre-flight security check. They called the airport doctor who insisted Anas was not fit for travel and should instead be in a hospital. “Let him get treatment in Italy,” Anas remembers the officer overseeing his deportation saying before they put him on the plane. Anas, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee, had not committed a crime so much as run afoul of a regulation he did not even know existed before arriving…

All Africa: Israel Moves to Deport 40,000 African Migrants

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The fate of 40,000 African migrants in Israel remains unclear after lawmakers approved a proposal to deport them. The Cabinet in Jerusalem voted unanimously Sunday to close the isolated Holot detention facility in the Negev Desert. Holot houses thousands of Africans who entered Israel illegally. The center is due to shut down in three months, and residents will face the option of leaving the country or going to prison. Impoverished Africans, mostly from war-torn Eritrea and Sudan, swarmed across Israel’s southern border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula from around 2006 until 2013, when the completion of a massive border fence cut off the influx. Asylum or better life? The migrants describe themselves as refugees seeking political asylum, but Israel sees the majority as illegal economic migrants and even “infiltrators.” Many live in squalid neighborhoods in south Tel Aviv, where Israeli locals blame them for rising crime and a deteriorating quality of life. “This is the right policy to ease the suffering…

Citizen: Refugees in East Africa urgently need government support and protection

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There is an urgent need from Governments in the East Africa region and international players to establish protection and support mechanisms that will ensure that the human rights of refugees and migrants are not violated. Existing approaches and attention to the migration into the region and the status of refugees are exposing them to not only human rights violations including lack of access to education, health and food but involvement in criminal activities. With the political situation in South Sudan increasingly becoming volatile, the continued onslaught against a section part of the citizenry by the Government of Ethiopia and related terrorist activities in Somalia, there is still need for international attention and resources to ensure migrants to and from the region are protected from the serious human rights violations they face while on route and in host countries. It’s becoming increasingly clear that while Governments in the East Africa region are deescalating their attention to refugee and migrant issues, the…

Standard Media: Zimbabwean immigrants integrate with Kenyan communities as they seek citizenship status

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Mushawa Ndoro has nostalgic memories of listening to folklore from his ancestors who migrated from Zimbabwe and settled in Kenya in the early 1960s when the east African nation was gaining self-rule. The 48-year-old carpenter belongs to the second generation of Zimbabwe’s Shona people who left their ancestral homes to spread African themed Christianity in Kenya and its neighbouring countries. Ndoro’s forefathers found abode in Nairobi and central Kenya where they built churches and blend easily with locals whom they share some cultural similarities. Ndoro and his kinsmen now live in rented apartments on the outskirts of Nairobi, eking out a living through carpentry, basket-weaving and small-scale trade. Speaking to Xinhua recently in Kiambu County outside Nairobi where Shona immigrants have lived for decades, Ndoro hailed the hospitality of local hosts but reiterated his desire for Kenyan citizenship to enable him to become fully integrated in the country’s socioeconomic fabric. Kenya is home to an estimated 3,500 Shona people who…

COASTWEEK: South Africa launches new document to better manage refugees

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South Africa has introduced a hugely improved refugee travel document in a major step towards better refugee and asylum-seeking management, the Department of Home Affairs said on Wednesday. The Machine Readable Travel Document for Refugees has been designed and developed, using the latest passport production technology and security standards to include a pure polycarbonate data-page for personalization by laser engraving, department spokesperson Mansur Jaffer said. The new version is fully compliant with guidelines of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), according to Jaffer. With enhanced security features, the travel documents will help reduce the risk of document and identity fraud, Jaffer said. The document will not only increase security and trust among states, but also enhance the level of confidence in the users, who will travel with them, he added. South Africa has a large number of refugees coming into and leaving the country. From a peak of over 200,000 refugees and…
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