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21 June 2018

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Farah in 2006 when her family became internally displaced in Lebanon.

Thirty-Three Days

I remember well, during that summer of 2006, sitting in front of the white page of my little notebook; a white page I could not fill, not until today. Here is my story.

In July 2006, I was 19, and like most Lebanese youth, summer break only meant long days by the beach and evenings out.

Somewhere around mid-July, a date many Lebanese people have engraved in their memories but my brain is determined to erase, we woke up to a call from a neighbour informing us of some flyers that had fallen over Beirut. The flyers, which I’ve only seen scanned in some journals, were thrown all over the city. It was a technique used during world wars to inform civilians of the need to evacuate. Later that evening, parts of Beirut and all its southern suburbs would be severely bombed.

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Bärli Nugent is the Assistant Dean of the Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Finding My Migrant Voice

Vienna (IOM) – Bärli Nugent, Assistant Dean, the Juilliard School of Music, New York, reflects on the journey that led to her curating a musical selection for a unique concert presented by the United Nations Migration Agency at the UN Vienna Headquarters on June 28
 
As a first-generation American on my Austrian mother’s side, I was a deeply shy child who grew up aware that my household was not like those of my all-American friends. We sometimes ate food that no one else did; my friends found my mother’s accent hard to understand, and yes, her English could be awkward.

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Lifejackets have become a striking symbol of the refugee crisis. Photo: Hugh Peterswald/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty

The List: the 34,361 Men, Women and Children who Perished Trying to Reach Europe

United Kingdom (The Guardian) – Today, on World Refugee Day, the Guardian is distributing a list of the 34,361 migrants and refugees known to have died attempting to find a new home within the borders of the European Union.

It has been compiled by United for Intercultural Action, a European network of 550 anti-racist organisations in 48 countries. The List stretches back to 1993, when Kimpua Nsimba, a 24-year-old refugee from Zaire, was found hanged in a detention centre, five days after arriving in the UK.

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  • ANSA reported that IOM has launched an appeal asking for the protection of migrants affected, together with the local population, by military operations in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida.
     
  • Rudaw spoke with IOM’s Sandra Black about the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons in Iraq and how IOM is supporting them.
     
  • TRT World hosted a debate on the response to the Aquarius migrant boat situation and its impact on wider EU migration policy.  
     
  • The Borneo Post reported that international aid agencies and Bangladesh authorities are struggling to protect hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees against deadly monsoon landslides and floods ahead of the peak rainy season expected in July.
     
  • Balkan Insight reported that a small boat carrying ten migrants who were intending to irregularly cross the Drina River from Serbia and crossing into Bosnia capsized on Wednesday morning; no one was injured.
     
  • Nigeria’s Independent reported that migrant children at the US border have the right to protection and the right to be with their families, UNICEF and IOM have said.
     
  • Xinhua reported that the number of displaced people around the world has increased to 68.5 million, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday.
     
  • Xinhua reported that a global deal on refugees was urgently needed, as the number of people forcibly driven from their home by war, persecution, and violence reached 68.5 million in 2017, the UN Refugee Agency said on Wednesday.
     
  • The Guardian reported that the European Union is to increase funds for Africa by more than 20% over the next seven years to a minimum of €36bn in an attempt to reduce the number of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean. But reports say European efforts to stem the flow is characterized by misdirected finances, lack of accountability and repeated breaches of basic human rights.
     
  • IPS reported about Somali migrants stranded in Libya who were rescued with the help of Ali Said Faqi, Ambassador for the Somali Government to the European Union.
     
  • AFP/Mail Online reported that Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has warned of a migrant 'catastrophe' similar to the 2015 crisis if Europe does not agree a common response.
     
  • The Jerusalem Post ran an op-ed noting that  crises in the Mediterranean is fueled by the relative wealth of NGOs who seek to help but who have created a cycle of chain migration and empowered smugglers.
     
  • Latin American Herald Tribune reported that the Italian Rear Admiral commanding the European Union’s central Mediterranean naval operation “Sofia” warned on Tuesday humanitarian boats rescuing migrants just off the Libyan coast contribute, to a certain degree, to incentivize these departures.
     
  • New Strait Times ran an op-ed on the current migration crisis, noting that the EU needs to implement a comprehensive framework that deals both with the situation in Libya and with the points of origins in Africa, as well as with the welcoming policies implemented by the receiving countries in Europe. 
     
  • Euractiv reported that dealing with the refugee crisis has proved to be an insurmountable task for Europe, due to the apparent lack of a coherent immigration policy and political indecisiveness.
     
  • Marine Insight reported that the high number of people migrating to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea has led to a fallout between EU states, even as people die while making the crossing in overcrowded and unseaworthy boats.
     
  • US News reported that critics of Italy’s strategy to block rescue ships say the approach doesn’t slow people fleeing violence.
     
  • JoyOnline ran an op-ed noting that the world is battling an exponential rise in undocumented and irregular migration which poses several challenges on the countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as migrants themselves.
     
  • Global Sisters Report said that the United Nations is grappling with crafting two new frameworks for its members in responding to the record numbers of refugees and migrants across the globe.
     
  • Middle East Monitor ran an op-ed noting that misconceptions around refugees are a threat to a tolerant society.
     
  • NPR reported about so-called ‘climate refugees’, who currently lack any formal definition, recognition or protection under international law even as the scope of their predicament becomes more clear.
     
  • The Center for Immigration Studies ran an op-ed noting that it is important to call attention to those who abuse the asylum system by falsely claiming persecution simply to get into a country, as it especially harms those who urgently need refugee protection.
     
  • The Manila Bulletin reported that various international organizations and civil society organizations participated in a Peace Caravan as part of a 10-day solidarity event organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process that aims to help rebuild communities and foster unity and harmony among the people of Marawi.
     
  • Vancouver Sun interviewed Soulful Productions’ Daniel Szabo about ‘Sweet Bubbling Nights’, a show that includes a mix of singers, musicians, and drag queens to raise money for the LGBTI Pulse Memorial Scholarship program.
     

  • News Deeply reported that in the Sri Lankan hills, preschool teachers run classes to prepare women for the practical and emotional realities of taking on migrant work in a foreign country and teach husbands how to do the job of raising the children.
     
  • The New York Times reported that while immigrants have often delivered economic benefits to the countries taking them in, they have also shaken the prevailing order and upended the politics of the industrialized world – where the native-born often exaggerate both their numbers and their needs.
     
  • Forbes ran a feature on Lina Zdruli, an entrepreneur who founded Dafero, a consumer food startup that employs refugee women to make healthy, organic snacks.
     
  • Kenya’s Daily Nation reported about five former refugees who beat the odds to succeed and who shared their stories during the first ever TEDx talks to be held in a refugee camp.