News in Brief 24 July 2017 (AM)

24 July 2017

Australia urged to end “offshore processing” of asylum seekers

Australia is being urged by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filipo Grandi, to end “the harmful practice of offshore processing.”

Refugees arriving by sea without a valid visa are denied access to asylum in Australia and are often detained in neighbouring islands like Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Four years on, more than 2,000 people have been languishing in what the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) describes as “unacceptable circumstances.”

Families have been separated and many have suffered physical and psychological harm, Mr Grandi said.

UNHCR has offered to help with the relocation of refugees to the United States following a bilateral agreement between Australia and the US.

However, the agency said it agreed to do so on the “clear understanding” that refugees with close family ties in Australia would be allowed to settle there.

A decision to refuse even those refugees was recently announced by the Australian government.

Children in Paraguay still working as domestics and forced beggars

Paraguay is being urged by a UN human rights expert to prioritize children in its fight against modern slavery.

The call comes from the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Urmila Bhoola, as she wraps up a fact-finding mission to the country.

During her eight-day visit to Paraguay, Ms Bhoola heard reports of children being used as domestic servants, forced beggars and other forms of child labour.

She noted the “heightened vulnerability” of children to modern forms of slavery and urged the Government to continue to build a “comprehensive system of child protection.”

Paraguay is an upper middle-income, landlocked country in the southern cone of Latin America with a population of seven million.

However, it continues to face poverty and inequality even with a sustained growth in GDP over the last five years.

IOM launches online platform to engage with diaspora

The UN migration agency, IOM, has launched a new online platform for members of diaspora communities to share their opinions on a global deal for a safe, orderly and regular migration which is expected to take effect in 2018.

The Global Compact for Migration, or GCM, aims to address challenges associated with today’s migration and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

Engaging diaspora with their countries of origin is an important aspect of IOM’s work.

The iDiaspora Forum is designed to initiate ideas, learn lessons and share best practices on migration, according to its moderator, Dr Martin Russell.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2'44"


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