December 4, 2013 marked the thousandth day since a powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit the island of Japan on March 11, 2011, killing more than 15,000 people, devastating parts of the country, and causing a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. According to a survey conducted last month by the Reconstruction Agency, it is reported [ja] that there are still 277,609 evacuees who have not returned to their homes; 84 percent of them are from Fukushima prefecture.
Latest stories from Quick Reads + Refugees
This is an island. No way out. So these two nations, who have been doing a live rendition of a Russian novel for 500 years, are going to have to work it out.
Contrary to many of the opinions expressed in this post, Changing Perspectives weighs in on the decision by the Dominican Republic to deny citizenship to subsequent generations of illegal immigrants, most of whom are Haitian.
Bulgaria, as the closest EU country to Syria, is seeing more than its fair share of the average 5,000 refugees that are fleeing Syria every day. Unprepared and inexperienced in dealing with this influx of refugees seeking shelter, food and protection, Bulgaria has requested assistance and financial aid from the European Union. Meanwhile, some Bulgarian ministers have allegedly proposed to use some of the new funding to put up a 30-kilometer barrier fence along the border with Turkey to prevent illegal entry.
Open Democracy reports in more detail:
Geographically, Bulgaria is not that remote from Syria. Sharing a border with Turkey, Bulgaria is the EU member state closest to Syria if one is travelling by road or railway transport. Therefore, as the most likely first point of entry into the Union, Bulgaria must be well equipped to meet the challenges that will ensue with the new expected waves of Syrian refugees in the coming months. Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case.[...]
This week it is expected that the European Commission will make a final decision as to whether Bulgaria will receive financial aid to cope with the situation. In the meantime, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, has warned that the Bulgarian authorities lack experience of dealing with similar situations and have failed in crisis planning.
Sixty asylum-seekers went on hunger strike yesterday in a southeast Hungarian detention camp for asylum-seekers, atlatszo.hu investigative journalism site's blog reported in their Blog Action Day post [hu] on human rights. The Office of Immigration and Nationality confirmed that the strike was started by five Malian citizens who were joined by 55 others requesting their replacement in an open camp. As of July 2013, Hungary places the undocumented asylum-seekers in detention camps. The five initiators continue the hunger strike.
During a parliamentary hearing on the spy agency election interference scandal, Cho Myung-chul, a ruling party lawmaker famous for being the first North Korean defector to take a senior government post in South Korea, went under fire for making snide and offensive remarks discriminating against people from certain province. More criticisms mount as prominent political blogger Impeter disclosed that [ko] Cho has misrepresented facts about his academic records, whether intended or not, and as news came out [ko] that Cho's family, even after Cho's defection, still enjoys affluent life in North Korea.
The Gmünder Tagespost [de] in Germany describes a new local integration project: Asylum seekers would help passengers carry luggage at a train station under construction. By doing this they would earn €1.05 an hour – the statutory maximum wage for asylum seekers.
While the politicians behind the proposal present it as an integration project, many netizens are of another opinion.
Immediately, reactions on social networks were seen. In Fefe's Blog it's explained:
First World Problem: Mit dem Gepäck ist das immer so schwierig am Bahnhof die Treppen hoch und runter, weil man wegen der Baustelle jetzt über diese Brücke muss, um den Bahnsteig zu wechseln.
First World Solution: Man zieht Flüchtlinge heran, die dann für den gesetzlichen Maximallohn von 1,05 € pro Stunde (nein, wirklich!) Koffer schleppen. Ein Euro und fünf Cent.
First World Problem: With luggage it's increasingly difficult to climb up and over the stairs at the train station, because of the construction work you've got to cross a temporary bridge, just to change platforms.
First World Solution: Refugees are brought in who can haul suitcases for the statutory maximum wage of €1.05 an hour (no really!). Carrying suitcases. One Euro and five cents.
Twitter users, such as Walid Malik, are reminded of colonial times:
— Walid Malik (@WalidVanMalik) July 23, 2013
#Asylbewerber [#Asylumseekers] are in the haze of the of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union party) rulers (just like the British-India colony): €1.05 for carrying luggage at the train station http://t.co/D4S65UyQoA
Mathias Richel points out that that the article isn't out of a satire magazine.
— Mathias Richel (@mathiasrichel) July 23, 2013
‘No Time for Anger [de]’, a visualization journal by a team of Swiss media reporter and designers, illustrates Fukushima two years after the triple catastrophe of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami followed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011. Fearing radiation, some residents sought evacuation to other areas in Japan, but the data visualization by the team shows the majority of people who fled actually stayed within the region of Fukushima:
We received data sets from the prefecture of Fukushima on the number of refugees and their current location for the years 2011 and 2012. We imagined that since this was a nuclear catastrophe people would flee from the region and wish to be as far away as possible. Yet, the numbers from the prefecture of Fukushima backed by researchers at the University of Gunma showed that the reality was quite different. The majority of people who fled actually stayed within the region of Fukushima.
Concerns over insufficient protection of North Korean refugees have grown ever stronger as news came out that nine young North Korean defectors have been forced to return to North Korea after being captured in Laos. The Dreamer blog shares a story of a young North Korean defector which explains in detail the kind of life he fled from.
On 17 May 2013 Australian blogger and self-styled ‘global nomad’ More Atlitude posted a lengthy and detailed post in response to “Australia’s decision yesterday to excise its mainland from the migration zone” this week. He argues that it
essentially reinforces a horrible, horrible policy of enforced detention for legal (I stress, again and again and again, people, LEGAL, good grief do I need to paint it neon and string it with lights?) asylum-seekers.
Hong Wrong blogs about an upcoming protest on April 27 among refugees, tortured survivors and NGOs against the government’s treatment of torture victims and to call for an urgent review of the screening system for assessing protection claims.
RJDH -RCA reports that [fr]:
According to multiple NGOs in the region, the cities of Mobaye and Bangassou are under attack by dissident rebels of the Sekela coalition in the Central African Republic. No confirmation has been given yet by the government. Bangassou's phone network is currently cut off.
Jihadis venture capitalism extended to an even more lucrative business: kidnapping western hostages all over the Sahara yielded over 90 Million Euros over a decade [..] The modus operandi was very simple: why get killed trying to create an Islamist emirate in “apostate-ruled” neighboring countries when you can build your own sanctuary AND have the West pay for it?
Nasser Weddady unpacks the reasons for the current troubles in Mali. He opines that the roots of the problem are more complex than the existing narratives in the media lead us to believe.
We must regroup so that airplanes can tell us apart from the targeted ismalists fighters who will be on the move.
Tuareg refugees in Borj and Timeaouine in Northern Mali are hurrying to gather around their family members in order to avoid airstrikes by French planes against islamist groups, Tamoudre reports [fr]. Tamoudre adds that Tuaregs are in favor of the military intervention but that they should be part of the post-intervention stabilization.
The Kakuma News Reflector, or KANERE, is an independent news magazine produced by Ethiopian, Congolese, Ugandan, Rwandan, Somali, Sudanese and Kenyan journalists operating in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. It is the first fully independent refugee-run news source of its kind to emerge from a refugee camp, and has attracted considerable international attention.
At this point, there is virtually no one left in president Bozize's cabinet. His religious advisors and his sons are the only left to help him in manage a storming crisis that might blow all of them away.
Centrafrique Press Info CPI reacts to the news that rebels are about to seize control of Bangui [fr], the capital city of Central African Republic. The USA have asked their citizens to leave the country [fr] while the UN is only keeping essential staff [fr] in the field.
Much suggests Masisi territory being the neuralgic point, both in terms of politico-military contest and its humanitarian consequences.Any extension of the M23 conflict farther into Masisi territory contains immense potential of escalation.
Christophe Ethuin reports that there is much reason for concerns in Masisi Territory as the conflict with M23 lingers on. Doctors without Borders, Oxfam and JRS have warned against additional potential humanitarian disasters in the upcoming weeks.
Amila Bosnae writes about the years “stolen” by the war in the former Yugoslavia:
You lose a couple of years once, and twenty years later, you still haven’t caught up. [...] Time stopped for us in a way, then. I didn’t even grow at all for the better part of those years because there was nothing to grow from. We were isolated from the world, but the world just kept on going without us. Possibly still celebrating the reunification of Germany and a new Europe while we were running for cover. In new Europe. [...]
The Crisis Group has created an interactive map of the conflicts in the Kivu region, DRC in 2012 [fr].
Paritosh Chakma recently visited Chakma villages in Papumpare district of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh and wrote about their plights. Thousands of Chakma refugees were transferred to the Chakma Settlement Areas in this region during 1964-69 and most of them still remain stateless.
The Latin and Latin-American Student Association (AELLA) of the Graduate Center, City University of New York, invites you to participate in the free conference “Structural Violence on the Global Frontier: Central America, Mexico and the United States,” which will take place from the 4-6 of October, 2012 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The Graduate Center, CUNY and St. Mary's Church, respectively. The repercussions of anti-migratory political aggressiveness, deportations, those who go missing, the threats and the insecurity that attacks the lives of thousands of migrants are some of the subjects that will be discussed during the three days which will be full of activities. The conference will be transmitted live in the front page of Asuntos del Sur (Affairs of the South). www.asuntosdelsur.org
American Actress and UN Ambassador, Angelina Jolie is in Lebanon today [September 12, 2012] as part of her tour to support Syrian Refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
Commenting the event, Ivy from Lebanon tweets:
@ivysblog: Angelina Jolie's in Lebanon today visiting refugees – not only is she the world's most beautiful woman but also a passionate humanitarian.
We cannot be part of the Indian Ocean Community and be indifferent to these tragedies. The solution must involve both countries
Saïd Larifou reacts to the recent drowning [fr] of refugees trying to reach Mayotte by sea. Currently 36 are missing [fr] after their boat capsized as it approached Mayotte. M. Larifou warns that clashes might arise if the strained relation between Mayotte and Comoros is not repaired rapidly.