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19 May 2016

A view of an IDP camp in Al-Jamea, Baghdad, where 97 families from Anbar Governorate have found temporary shelter. Photo: UNICEF Iraq / Khuzaie 2015.

UN Deputy Chief Calls for Greater Integration Efforts to Meet Challenges of Refugees in Urban Areas

United Nations – More than half of the world’s refugees live in urban areas, and often in fragile cities with high levels of inequality, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said yesterday, stressing the importance of integration efforts that enable refugees to benefit from the opportunities cities offer so that they can ultimately have a dignified life.

Addressing a meeting on ‘Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants: Critical Challenges for Sustainable Urbanization’ held at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Eliasson said that among the issues that must be addressed include the causes of forced displacement; the safety of migrants and refugees as they cross international borders; and support for host countries to integrate newcomers into their communities.

The event took place ahead of the UN General Assembly’s September 19th 2016 High Level Meeting: “Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, which will debate the UN Secretary-General’s newly published report:  “In safety and dignity: addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. 

“There is much for us to do,” the Deputy Secretary-General said. “Every day, millions of refugee children are unable to attend school. Every day, the dignity and well-being of millions of people is compromised due to lack of basic services and job opportunities.”

Mr. Eliasson noted that while it is true that many refugees, especially in Africa and the Middle East, reside in camps, many more settle and work in host communities. In fact, he said, just one-quarter of all refugees live in camps, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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To download IOM’s World Migration Report 2015: Migrants and Cities: New Partnerships to Manage Mobility go here

An unknown number of West African migrants perish in the Libyan desert trying to reach Europe. Photo: Lorenzo Meloni.

Damned for Trying

A massive wave of migration is crashing through North Africa, but there is only one major gateway to Europe — and it's through Libya, writes Amanda Sakuma for an MSNBC / Magnum Photos special with pictures by Lorenzo Meloni.

The largest flow of modern African migration funnels through a single country — Libya. Coming from the south, migrants flee the vestiges of wars that have left entire nations in ruin. From the east, they escape a life of indefinite military servitude and violent conflict. From the west, they evade destitution and governments that arbitrarily jail whomever they please.

Some arrive by choice, others by force. But Libya is the purgatory where most migrants prepare to face the deadliest stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Migration in the News

  • DW reported that humanitarian groups are questioning Italy's ability to handle newly-arrived minors and victims of torture, as irregular migration from North Africa continues.

  • UN Radio reported growing concern over a sharp rise in the number of unaccompanied Egyptian minors arriving in Italy.

  • New York Times reported that smugglers made USD 5-6 billion in 2015 transporting roughly one million migrants into the European Union, according to Europol and Interpol.

  • New Europe reported on conflicting data on the scale of irregular migration from North Africa to Italy and the policy implications for the European Union.

  • A Politico Op-Ed suggests that with record numbers of migrants likely to arrive on Lampedusa as summer approaches, the European Union cannot leave Rome to deal with the problem on its own.

Trending on the Internet

  • The Guardian reported that refugees who arrived in Europe last year could repay spending on them almost twice over within just five years, according to a London School of Economics study.

  • FT reported that Syrian refugee entrepreneurs have boosted Turkey’s economy with 4,000 new businesses set up by Syrians or Syrians with Turkish partners since 2011.

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