When Fear Stopped me from Fighting Xenophobia

A Syrian refugee girl sits in a classroom at a Lebanese public school where only Syrian students attend classes. Education for refugee children is a pressing global issue that needs long-term solutions. United Nations conventions have fallen short of meeting the needs of displaced populations, even the most vulnerable ones. AP/Hussein Malla, File

A Syrian refugee girl sits in a classroom at a Lebanese public school where only Syrian students attend classes.  AP/Hussein Malla, File

By Allyson Fritz, member of the Amnesty International’s East Bay chapter

Since the moment I handed over the keys of my Toyota Celica to its new owner, I’ve replayed the conversation I had with the buyer over and over in my head. He had responded to my Craigslist ad and we met to negotiate the price. During our small talk he took me completely by surprise when he revealed some of his views on immigration. This included his belief that “Mexicans only come to the U.S. to take advantage of our welfare system.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

What happens to deported Central Americans?

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Amnesty International’s new report, Home Sweet Home? Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador’s Role in a Deepening Refugee Crisis, documents the incredible levels of violence and impunity that are driving tens of thousands of people from these countries (known as the Northern Triangle of Central America) to flee their homes and seek asylum in the United States and Mexico.

It also investigates what happens to those Central Americans who are sent back to their countries of origin—often without receiving a fair hearing regarding the threats to their lives. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find this information: SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Australian Refugee Processing Centers Aren’t ‘Border Control’ — They’re Torture

 

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In the last few months, the tiny pacific island nation of Nauru has exploded back onto the international news circuit. This time, it isn’t for the lucrative strip mining of fossilized bird droppings, it’s news of the Australian Government using the island as a detention center for intercepted refugees and asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia and New Zealand by boat. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

‘Time for Change’ on Refugees

A Syrian refugee girl sits in a classroom at a Lebanese public school where only Syrian students attend classes. Education for refugee children is a pressing global issue that needs long-term solutions. United Nations conventions have fallen short of meeting the needs of displaced populations, even the most vulnerable ones. AP/Hussein Malla, File

A Syrian refugee girl sits in a classroom at a Lebanese public school where only Syrian students attend classes. Education for refugee children is a pressing global issue that needs long-term solutions. United Nations conventions have fallen short of meeting the needs of displaced populations, even the most vulnerable ones. AP/Hussein Malla, File

The world faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. On the 65th anniversary of the United Nations refugee convention being adopted, there are now 65 million displaced people globally, the highest number since World War II. Around one-third of that number are refugees; at least half of those are children. Yet the only attempt to find an international solution to this most urgent of problems is now being gutted and delayed.

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The Former Refugee Who Rescued His Own Family on a Greek beach

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The relief is visible as Ghias Aljundi (left, in yellow) welcomes his family after 18 years apart in Lesvos, Greece, December 2015. © Private

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

Refugee Women on Greek Islands in Constant Fear

AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

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

Here’s Why Blocking Refugees from the Eastern Corridor is Irresponsible

GREECE: Refugees stranded at the mercy of European leaders

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

4 in 5 People Worldwide Say: ‘We Welcome Refugees’

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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

Trapped in Europe’s New Refugee Camp: Greece

Refugees - Lesvos / Athens - March 2016

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

The ‘Arab Spring’: Five Years On

MANAMA, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 19:  A person holds a flower in front of a barbed wire fence as anti-government demonstrators re-occupy Pearl roundabout on February 19, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. Anti-government protesters were fired at with tear gas and rubber bullets as they marched to retake the roundabout, injuring several protestors at the site of two deadly previous confrontations between police and demonstrators. The Bahrain military has since backed off by order of Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and instead police have been positioned to squelch the uprising.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MANAMA, BAHRAIN – FEBRUARY 19: A person holds a flower in front of a barbed wire fence as anti-government demonstrators re-occupy Pearl roundabout on February 19, 2011 in Manama, Bahrain. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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