On World Refugee Day, we talk to Ghias Aljundi, who fled to the UK from Syria 18 years ago. He is one of thousands volunteering to help refugees arriving in Greece since last year. But he’d never expected that one day he’d rescue his own family from a rubber boat. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Amnesty International
LESVOS, Greece – Shirin, an Afghan journalist, was once shot at by the Taliban. After fleeing near-fatal attacks in her country in the hope of finding safety in Europe, she now lives in constant fear in a transit refugee camp in Greece. She is, in fact, just one of many women who have fled harm and persecution, only to face new fears of sexual harassment and violence in the camps on the Greek islands.
“We are treated like animals. I’d rather be shot again than endure these conditions,” Shirin, not her real name, told Amnesty International at the Kara Tepe camp on the island of Lesvos.
It was 18 months ago that the Taliban shot at Shirin’s car. Initially, she fled to Kabul, where she found another journalism job, this time behind the camera. “It’s very dangerous for a woman journalist in Afghanistan,” she said. She continued to receive threats over the phone, and eventually it became too much. She left Afghanistan for Europe. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Baylen Campbell and Katie Bellamy Mitchell, Identity and Discrimination Unit Interns
Despite the fact that the global community is facing the worst refugee crisis since WWII, the European Union (EU) has undertaken aggressive efforts to divert or even block some of the safest pathways. Over 19.5 million people–of the over 60 million displaced people globally– have so far been recognized as refugees, meaning they are people fleeing their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution from which the government cannot or will not protect them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
When Amnesty asked more than 27,000 people across 27 countries if they would welcome refugees, the response was incredible: 4 in 5 people replied with a resounding “yes, we will”!
All over the world, people are watching in horror as the global refugee crisis goes from bad to worse. Our survey shows that while many governments still claim they simply can’t find room for refugees, their citizens feel the opposite way.
The UK and Australian governments are probably more out of touch than any other leaders globally: an astonishing 87% of British people and 85% of Australians are ready to invite refugees into their countries, communities – even their own homes. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Among the olive groves on some of Greece’s beautiful islands there are barbed wire fences.
At least 6,000 asylum-seekers have been locked up here since a new European Union (EU) plan kicked in on 20 March. Some have already been deported back to Turkey, while many more anxiously await the same fate.
But they aren’t the only ones trapped in Greece. Another 46,000 people are stuck in often filthy, overcrowded sites across the mainland. They’re in limbo because they arrived after Greece’s northern border was shut in early March, and before the EU-Turkey deportation deal came into force. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Protesters took to the streets across the Arab world in 2011, pushing their leaders to end decades of oppression.
The Middle East and North Africa was engulfed in an unprecedented outburst of popular protests and demand for reform. It began in Tunisia and spread within weeks to Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Esmeralda López and Adotei Akwei
Urias (a 32-year-old mother from Usulután Province, El Salvador) says ICE agents showed up at the door of her apartment in Atlanta at 11 a.m. Sunday, but she wouldn’t let them in. Then they called her and said they were actually there because her ankle monitor was broken. So she opened the door. Once inside, they told her to get her kids together and go with them. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
2015 has seen the worst refugee crisis in recent history with over 19.5 million refugees across the globe. Unprecedented numbers of refugees have arrived on Europe’s shores, while countries in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa continue to host the majority of the world’s refugees. Amnesty is calling for a dramatic shift in the way the international community deals with the global refugee crisis from 2016. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
This is a critical moment to stand up for refugee rights in the United States. Join us and call your Senator immediately to vote NO on the upcoming bill limiting entry to the U.S. to Iraqi and Syrian refugees.
The “American SAFE Act of 2015” that passed the House Thursday, Nov 19, now moves to the Senate. This bill would add increased and unnecessary screening and barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees (including requiring the Secretary of Homeland security, the Head of the FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria). If it were to become law, thousands of desperate refugees fleeing the armed group calling itself the Islamic State and other violence would pay the price.
Three weeks ago, two Syrian activist journalists, Ibrahim Abd al-Qader and Fares Hamadi, both refugees who had survived harassment from the Assad regime, were killed in Urfa, Turkey, presumably by ISIS. They were added to the list of more than 220,000 Syrian dead, caught between the violence of both the Assad regime and ISIS and other armed groups.
Their murders highlight the continuing dangers Syrian refugees face. These are the people we should be supporting; these are the people who are essential to keeping hope the original vision of the Syrian uprising in 2011: a vision of a Syria built on respect for human rights. Instead, political leaders threatening to ban Syrian resettlement are threatening to shut the door on them.