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02 March 2016

Refugees and migrants stranded at the Greek-Macedonian border beg to be allowed to cross. Photo: AFP 2015.

UN Chief: Border Limits Violate 'Human Decency'

United Nations – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says border restrictions being imposed in Europe to stem the flow of migrants "are not in line with international law or with common human decency," according to an AP report in The New York Times.

Ban made the comments Tuesday in Madrid after Greek police said up to 10,000 mostly Syrian and Iraqi refugees were stuck at the country's Idomeni border crossing with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRoM) in deteriorating conditions.

The Idomeni crossing has become a key flashpoint in Europe's migration crisis. Several nations led by Austria have imposed refugee caps and border restrictions over the past 10 days, creating a huge backlog of migrants in Greece.

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Fishing boats head out into the Bay of Bengal. Photo: UNHCR/S. H. Omi

Bay of Bengal "Three Times More Deadly" than Mediterranean for Migrants and Refugees: UNHCR

Thailand – Refugees and migrants crossing the seas of Southeast Asia died at a rate three times higher than those in the Mediterranean last year, according to a new UNHCR report, highlighting the urgency of greater life-saving cooperation among the affected States.

The report, Mixed Maritime Movements in South-East Asia, claims that the movements were “three times more deadly” than in the Mediterranean, due largely to mistreatment by smugglers and disease on the boats.

Across the region, an estimated 33,600 refugees and migrants of various nationalities took to smugglers' boats in 2015, including 32,600 in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, where the bulk of the passengers were Rohingya and Bangladeshi, according to the report.

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Migration in the News

  • UN News reported that UN Deputy SG Jan Eliasson, speaking at IOM’s 2016 International Dialogue on Migration, urged countries to work together to ensure that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development's promise of well-managed migration and mobility becomes a reality.
  • Euronews reported that over 300 migrant children have died attempting to reach Greece from Turkey in the six months since the widely-publicized drowning of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi.
  • Ozy reported that according to researchers at Oxford’s International Migration Institute, contrary to popular belief, global migration is not growing. Taking into account population growth, it has remained more or less unchanged at 2-3 percent for the past five decades.
  • AP reported that according to NATO’s top commander in Europe, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, terrorists, criminals and foreign fighters are part of the daily refugee flow into Europe.

Trending on the Internet

  • Reuters reported that Turkey's 2.6 million Syrian refugees may be straining the housing and jobs systems, but they are also fuelling economic growth.
  • Al Jazeera caught up with Osama Abdul Mohsen, the Syrian refugee who became famous after being tripped by a Hungarian camerawoman. He is now working as a soccer coach in Spain.

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