The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
This week, we look back on last year’s notable refugee developments. From the Mediterranean to Myanmar, from Sudan to the South Lawn, refugee crises touch every corner of the globe, and show no sign of letting up. At the same time, cities, countries and organizations are opening their doors to the most vulnerable among us, and others are finding new ways to provide for and empower refugees. As we review the year that was, we hope for justice and flourishing in the year ahead.
The Immigration Ban: Security or Bias?
The year began with U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order that halted refugee resettlement from seven countries. Billed as a way to fight terrorism, the order did not limit immigration from Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9-11 hijackers called home. Families en route to the U.S. were detained at airports, inducing protests all over the country. A federal judge eventually ruled the ban to be illegal, but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a later version of the order.
South Sudan: Turmoil Within
Africa’s largest refugee crisis was in South Sudan, where more than two million people fled the country and two million more are displaced within the new nation. After becoming an independent country in 2014, South Sudan has been gridlocked in civil war between government and rebel forces. Fighting in the area has at times caused humanitarian organizations to retreat from the country, leaving vulnerable populations in greater peril.
Burma / Myanmar: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis
The Myanmar government began attacks on Rohingya people in Rakhine state, causing over 600,000 people to flee across the border to Bangladesh on foot, crossing rivers and dodging landmines along the way. Myanmar has been under a military dictatorship for decades, but the recent transition to democracy has led to ethnic cleansing and discrimination against minority groups.
Troubled Waters in Australia
Australia’s policy of denying asylum to refugees who enter by boat without a visa made headlines when refugees refused to leave an Australian-run detention center for refugees in Papau New Guinea. The U.N. ruled Australia’s policy of offshore detention illegal, and there is a slow-moving plan in the works to resettle the refugees in the United States and elsewhere.