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19 July 2018

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The Rohingya refugees are fed three meals a day at the temporary shelter in Bireuen, Indonesia. Michael Holtz/CS Monitor

A Sumatran Fishing Town's Message for Rohingya Refugees: Welcome

Bireuen, Indonesia (CS Monitor)  – The plan was to go to Malaysia. That’s where 15-year-old Nur Hakim had hoped to reunite with his older brother, who fled Myanmar years ago and has since found work in construction.

Nur might have made it there if it weren’t for the two Thai Navy ships that intercepted the wooden boat he shared with 78 fellow Rohingya refugees. Instead, the Navy escorted the boat toward the Indonesian island of Sumatra. On April 20, after nine days at sea, it was guided ashore by fishermen and docked at Bireuen, a small fishing town in Aceh province.

The town was quick to welcome the refugees. Those who needed medical care were taken to a nearby hospital, and a government training center was turned into a temporary shelter. Volunteers soon arrived to cook meals, give haircuts, and teach Indonesian. A local imam stopped by during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to offer his prayers.

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Immigration, Lot of Myths and Little Reality

Rome (IPS) – According to the latest statistics, the total flow of immigrants so far in 2018 is 50,000 people, compared with 186,768 last year, 1,259,955 in 2016 and 1,327,825 in 2015. The difference between reality and perceptions is so astonishing, we are clearly witnessing one of the most brilliant manipulations in history.

The latest survey carried out of 23,000 citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States shows an enormous level of disinformation. In five of those countries, people believe that immigrants are three times higher than they actually are.

Italians believe they account for 30 percent of the population when the figure is actually 10 per cent, an average which is lower than the media of the European Union. Swedes are those closest to reality: they believe immigrants account for 30 percent, when in fact the figure is 20 percent.

Italians also believe that 50 per cent of the immigrants are Muslim, when in fact it is 30 per cent; conversely, 60 per cent of the immigrants are Christian, and Italians think they are 30 per cent.

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“I've seen him embrace his jailers and thank them for treating him as well as they did; he is that kind of a man." Listen to IOM DG William Lacy Swing describe his encounter with Nelson Mandela and find out what the DG has in common with a 12-year-old refugee.

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Mariam: "When I was in jail, I was thinking about our life back home where, even if we didn't have much, we were happy and could live freely."

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  • Anadolu Agency reported that Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are facing a triple threat of extreme weather, funding shortfalls and uncertainty about their future, according to IOM.
  • AFP reported that at least 19 migrants drowned and up to 30 were missing Wednesday after their boat sank in the Mediterranean, north of Cyprus, local security forces said.
  • The Guardian reported that the number of migrants in Libya’s overcrowded detention centres has almost doubled over the past three months.
  • Der Spiegel's Bento youth media platform reported on EU efforts to stem Mediterranean Sea crossings, recent trends and the implications for migrants and refugees.
  • The Daily Trust reported that IOM has facilitated the return of 15,000 stranded Nigerians from Europe since 2001.
  • Middle East Monitor reported that thousands of Iraq’s Yazidis are still afraid to return to their villages and prefer to live in tents on the Sinjar Plateau.
  • News Deeply reported that over the past 15 years, there has been a surge in EU spending on borders outside Europe. The impact of this funding on West Africa has received little attention until recently.

  • Armenian Weekly spoke with Diàna Markosian, an Armenian-American photographer who integrates her own experiences of migration in her work, and deems it important to understand what migration means for her as an adult.
  • Sydney Morning Herald reported that a new snapshot of permanent migrants to arrive in Australia between January 2000 and August 2016 reveals most of them are buying or own a home, more were born in India than anywhere else, and their most common vocations were business, human resources or marketing professionals.