For the first few days of August, migrants seeking asylum from around the world converged outside a hotel in Midtown Manhattan, waiting for shelter openings. Around 200 migrants coming from countries such as Mauritania, Ecuador, Chad, Venezuela, Burundi, Peru, and Colombia resorted to sleeping outside on the city streets as they were denied entry into the overcrowded hotel. The city cleared the migrants and moved them using MTA buses to different city shelters on August 3. New York City has a unique “right to shelter” law, which means that the city is legally required to provide shelter to those who ask.
In 2017, wildfires in B.C. captured headlines around the world. Canadians from coast to coast donated generously to those whose homes and businesses were impacted. But there were some agricultural workers whose precarity rendered them nearly invisible, even as they continued to labour in the heat and the smoke. Andrea,* a former blueberry worker who was employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program during the disaster, vividly remembers what it was like to work during the fires. “There was a mix of colours, red, grey, brown. It was covering the sky. You couldn’t see the sky and it was hard to breathe. And the smoke looked like clouds coming down on the ground.
In 2015, the United Nations Member States agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, that are rooted in three universal values including a human rights-based approach, ensuring that no one is left behind, and working to eliminate gender inequalities. At the center of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs is the principle of leave no one behind, or LNOB. Although not legally enforceable, LNOB symbolizes a global commitment to reach out to the most marginalized and vulnerable, as we work towards a development that does not adversely affect our planet. It requires that we look for solutions for those most affected by environmental change today before it becomes a ubiquitous problem affecting all of us.
Israeli forces have killed at least eight Palestinians during an ongoing major military offensive in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin – the largest operation in the territory since 2002. Hundreds of Palestinians were streaming out of Jenin refugee camp in yet another chapter of displacement as Monday came to a close. The Israeli military denied that it had ordered the evacuation of part of the camp. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said that it evacuated 3,000 Palestinians from the camp. At least two of those killed since early Monday were civilians, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
On June 19, a large Israeli military force raided the northern Palestinian town and refugee camp of Jenin from multiple directions. Not only did the raid fail, it backfired, and it also created a precedent in Israel’s decades-long war on the ever-rebellious Palestinian region. Israel killed eight Palestinians and wounded 91 more, following hours of clashes involving Israeli soldiers, on the one hand, and unified Palestinian Resistance groups, on the other. Israel only admitted to the wounding of eight of its soldiers, with some Israeli media outlets speaking of critical injuries among the invading troops and others claiming only moderate wounds.
Fadi, a Syrian teenager with curly hair and an acne-covered face, has miraculously survived one of the greatest migrant boat disasters in the modern history of the Mediterranean. Only 104 people have been rescued from a boat that carried an estimated 750 refugees after it capsized on June 13 in the open sea near the coastal town of Pylos. Scores of lifeless bodies have been pulled out from the water, and many more have washed ashore. Hundreds are still missing, feared dead, many of whom are women and children, as they huddled on the lower deck of the 30-meter boat. Fadi survived. A heart-rending photo shows the young Syrian sobbing as he met his older brother, Mohammed, who rushed to the port of Kalamata, Greece, to see him.
The United Nations refugee agency on Wednesday released its annual report on forcible displacement across the globe, revealing that the refugee population has hit a new record of 110 million people who have been driven from their homes due largely to violent conflicts and climate-related disasters—with the numbers showing the crisis is rapidly intensifying with each passing year. At the end of 2022, more than 108 million people were living as refugees—up nearly 20 million from the previous year, according to the report, Global Trends in Forced Displacement 2022. The recently erupted conflict in Sudan has pushed millions more people out of their homes this year, bringing the mid-year total to 110 million.
Every Sunday for the past six weeks, far-right protesters have been gathering in the small Scottish town of Erskine to complain about plans to house some 200 asylum seekers in a local hotel. However, they are not alone. Asylum seekers in Scotland and their local allies have also been protesting the use of these hotels, and for a much longer time. Scotland takes in thousands of asylum seekers each year: 4,000 in 2019. Normally Scotland is not the first stop for asylum seekers. The Home Office — the arm of the U.K. government that deals with immigration — processes most asylum seekers in England, and spreads people out around the U.K.
Over the past 20 years, the Mediterranean Sea has become a graveyard as the EU’s brutal “Fortress Europe” policies unleash brutal hostility against migrants and refugees. While mainstream media has often sensationalized the problem as a “migrant crisis” or “refugee crisis,” little scrutiny has been placed on the role of Europe and other countries of the Global North in producing this crisis of mass displacement through the War on Terror or the historic underdevelopment of the former colonial world. Authors Helen Benedict and Eyan Awwadawnan join The Chris Hedges Report to discuss their book, Map of Hope and Sorrow: Stories of Refugees in Greece. Helen Benedict is a novelist and journalist. Her previous books include The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, and Wolf Season.
After one week of speeches, discussions, demonstrations and debate, the 27th United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) has once again stalled over the questions of which global interests are actually responsible for environmental degradation. More importantly in contemporary times, the issue of imperialist countries and their multinational corporations being obligated to pay for the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions within the former colonial and neo-colonial territories has been raised to the top of the agenda of international gatherings.
In early March, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU announced the activation of a never-before-used directive, authorising entry to the EU of an unlimited number of people fleeing disaster. Ukrainian refugees will have the right to reside and work in the EU for one year, extendable to three, a right that refugees fleeing other recent wars, such as those in Syria and Afghanistan, have been denied. It is not known how many people from these countries never reached European territory, having died in the attempt, drowned in the Mediterranean. Alarm Phone’s network of volunteers relies on two basic tools in its work to help prevent migrants and refugees from dying at sea.
Over 4 million refugees – mostly women, children, and students – have fled Ukraine over the past month. In response, Europe has opened its arms to Ukrainian refugees and the EU has announced that all Ukrainians are eligible for temporary refugee protection for up to three years, with politicians and the public showing their support. This is how the international refugee protection regime should work. According to official Ukrainian government statistics, Ukraine had over 76,000 foreign students in 2020. About 20,000 of these were Indians and over 15,000 originated from Africa, mainly from Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt. In contrast, they have had a very different experience fleeing Ukraine. African and Asian students have described horrid stories of being beaten with sticks by Ukrainian security, pushed off buses and trains, and neglected in favour of Ukrainians. And recent disturbing reports suggest that they are also being unfairly detained at EU borders – being denied access to protection, basic human rights, and dignity, as well as being threatened with deportation.
In just a few short weeks, Russia’s war on Ukraine has precipitated a massive exodus of refugees. According to the United Nations, more than 4.3 million people have fled the country since February 24, the majority of them – 2.5 million – traveling west to Poland. Media across the world have closely covered the story, and shown a great deal more sympathy for the Ukrainian refugees than for others fleeing from U.S. wars in the Middle East or North Africa.
As the war in Ukraine enters its fourth week, EU authorities are increasingly revealing their double standards in how they treat refugees. European countries have welcomed white Ukrainian refugees, quickly integrating them into the labor market and schools. Meanwhile, Black and Brown refugees from the Global South continue to experience Europe’s racist border regime. Reports coming out in news globally shows that people from the African continent who have lived in Ukraine for years are not receiving the same treatment as white Ukrainians. Refugees trying to reach Europe from Africa and West Asia are violently rejected, as exemplified by the brutality on the border between Morocco and Spain surrounding Melilla, occurring just a couple of days after European governments opened their doors to Ukrainian refugees.
Chisinau, Moldova - Nestled above the Black Sea, between the war zone in Ukraine and the eastern limits of NATO territory in Romania, sits the tiny, oft-forgotten landlocked nation of Moldova. Among the poorest countries in Europe by just about any relevant metric, it has been overwhelmed by Ukrainian refugees in the three weeks since the outset of what Russia calls its “special military operation” (спецоперация) in Ukraine. More than 359,000 people of the 3.38 million who have fled Ukraine since February 24 have passed in and out of the country, according to the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees. Roman Macovenco of the Moldovan Consular Directorate confirmed at least 300,000 Ukrainians had crossed through Moldova.