June 8-14, 2019

U.S. Border Crisis

Over the weekend, the Office of the Inspector General released publicly its reports detailing inadequate conditions in U.S. migrant detention centers, following by the surfacing of a video, midway through the week, taken by a detainee of conditions inside one such center.

In Canada, the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology requested a one-year delay in the implementation of an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that would deny asylum to those arriving in Canada from a “safe country,” such as the United States.

Sources: Axios, San Diego Union-Tribune, Canada Broadcasting Corporation.

Danish General Election

The center-left “Red Bloc” won Denmark's general election last week after a campaign that was marked by the leading Social Democratic Party's embrace of tough rhetoric against migrants usually associated with center-right and right-wing parties (indeed, the party that lost the most seats in the election was the far-right Danish People's Party). It remains to be seen whether coalition negotiations with other Red Bloc parliamentary allies lead to more permissive migration policies from Denmark's next government.  

Sources: the Economist

New Migration Legislation in Germany

Germany passed new migration legislation last week, streamlining both integration and removal proceedings. A report affirming that BAMF, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, has rejected all but two of Germany's 147 “church asylum cases” (rejected asylum seekers who had sought refuge in a church, and as a result were granted additional review by BAMF), seems to confirm a renewed focus on Germany's part on removing rejected asylum seekers. Debate roiled over the week between the regional governments of southern German states and NGOs, with regional authorities demanding permission to begin carrying out deportations to Syria if conditions there improve in the near future, while NGOs demanded a freeze on deportations to Afghanistan and Sudan. 

Sources: Deutsche-Welle.

Mediterranean Search-and-Rescue Efforts

UNHCR decried last weekend the risk to asylum seekers departing from Libya, given that there is only one NGO rescue ship conducting SAR in the Mediterranean. Last Friday, SeaWatch boat captain Pia Klemp also spoke out forcefully against Italian authorities for the charges raised against her and long-winded trial against her, which she denounces as a show trial.

Sources: the Guardian, The Intercept, Deutsche-Welle

Syrian Refugees Pressured to Depart from Lebanon

Lebanese authorities have demanded that Syrian refugee families dismantle homes built of concrete by the end of June, at which point authorities will destroy the houses themselves. This announcement follows on the heels of serious incidents of violence at the Deir al-Ahmar refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley, marked by violence both within the camp and between camp residents and neighboring communities. 

Sources: Al Jazeera, Amnesty International.

Australian Asylum Practices

A Sudanese asylum-seeker who had spent 6 years in detention on Manus Island was granted asylum in Switzerland this weekend, after being invited to Geneva to receive the Martin Ennals Award for international human rights defenders and applying for asylum during the visit. Later in the week, a Sri Lankan asylum seeker's appeal -- whose application for asylum in the UK was rejected by the Home office -- highlighted the conditions in Australian offshore detention centers and the dearth of international solutions. In this context, a professor at the University of New South Wales published a list of seven principles for the Australian government to follow in an urged migration policy reform.

Sources:, Asia-Pacific Report, the Guardian, the Kaldor Centre.

Venezuelan Migration Trends

The number of Venezuelan refugees topped 4 million this week. Newly-released reports from EASO revealed this week that asylum seeker arrivals to Europe from Venezuela and Colombia have spiked dramatically over 2019, with more applications originating from Venezuela than from Afghanistan within the year.

Sources: NPR, Politico.

Joel Hernàndez