Archive for August 26th, 2015

26/08/2015

Photo Feature: The Race to Beat Hungary’s Border Fence

Human Wrongs Watch

Röszke , 25 August 2015 (IRIN)* – As Hungary rushes to complete the first phase of a controversial fence along its Serbian border, migrants – mainly refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – have been desperately trying to reach the country, which marks the beginning of the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone. When the fence is up, entry will become much harder.

A new surge is expected as Macedonia has re-opened its border with Greece, which was closed for several days last week after the government declared a state of emergency due to the numbers of migrants and refugees entering the country.

Thousands of refugees are now crossing Serbia and heading for Hungary, where they are likely to encounter more border guards.

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26/08/2015

UN Urges ‘Humane Treatment’ for Refugees

Human Wrongs Watch

GENEVA, 25 August 25 (UNHCR)*  The UN refugee agency stressed on Tuesday [24 August] that it was working closely with the Serb authorities to help meet the needs of more than 10,000 refugees and others who have arrived in Serbia in recent days following dramatic scenes at the Greek border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

© UNHCR/I.Szabó | Influx of refugees from FYR Macedonia to Serbia includes exhausted mothers with children resting in any kind of shade they can spot.

At the Greece-FYR Macedonia border itself — reported calm after chaotic scenes late last week — people are now crossing in groups of up to 300-400 and then travelling onwards by train or bus to Serbia.

“Currently, we anticipate these arrivals continuing over the next few days at a rate of up to 3,000 people per day,” UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a press briefing in Geneva.

She added that UNHCR was still concerned about the conditions for people making this journey, many of whom are from countries affected by on-going conflicts, such as Syria and Afghanistan.

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26/08/2015

UN Child Rights Envoy Urges End to ‘Grave Violations’ against Children in Yemen

Human Wrongs Watch

Alarmed by the dramatic increase in grave violations against Yemen’s children, the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has called on all parties to respect their obligations under international law to safeguard civilians from harm, including children.

A boy holds a large piece of exploded artillery shell, which landed in the village of Al Mahjar, a suburb of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Photo: UNICEF/Mohamed Hamoud

Reflecting on conflict-affected countries in the Middle East, Leila Zerrougui said in a statement issued on 24 August 2015 that Yemen has become “another stark example of how conflict in the region risks creating a lost generation of children, who are physically and psychologically scarred by their experiences, deprived of educational opportunities, and who face an uncertain future.”

After the conflict escalated in late March, at least 402 children had been killed, and more than 606 injured.

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26/08/2015

‘None of Us Have the Moral High Ground to Say that We Would Never Do the Same If We Were in their Shoes’

Human Wrongs Watch

The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert on 25 August 2015 advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants.

A young Syrian refugee carries his brother across the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), near Eidomeni, Greece, in June 2015. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell

A young Syrian refugee carries his brother across the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), near Eidomeni, Greece, in June 2015. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell

“Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Crépeau stressed.

“Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said.

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