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EU ministers relocate 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece

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Brussels: European Union (EU) ministers decided to relocate 40,000 refugees from Italy and Greece at an emergency meeting.

Photo Credit: www.un.org
Photo Credit: www.un.org

The Justice and Home Affairs Council on migration on Monday said EU ministers adopted a decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece, reported Xinhua news agency.

It will apply to 40,000 persons in need of international protection who have arrived or are arriving on the territory of those member states as from 15 August 2015 until 16 September 2017.

Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Minister for Immigration and Asylum and President of the Council said: “I am delighted that the Council has now been able to adopt this decision.”

The member states participating in the mechanism will receive a subsidy of 6,000 euros ($6784) for each relocated person.

Denmark and the UK are not participating in this decision.

The European Committee made the proposal of redistribution in May in dealing with the rising refugee crisis. At the last meeting in July, EU home affairs ministers failed to reach the target of 40,000 pledging to redistribute only 32,256 asylum-seekers around Europe.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last week called for relocating more 120,000 migrants under a compulsory scheme, bringing the total proposed number up to 160,000.

Juncker, together with leaders of Germany and France, have been pressing all member states to support commission proposals.

(IANS)

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Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees at High Risk of Exploitation and Abuse

A survey by the International Organization for Migration finds Venezuelan migrants and refugees are at high risk

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Venezuelan, Migrants, Refugees
FILE - Venezuelan children sleep at the Binational Border Service Center in Tumbes, Peru, after a new migration law was imposed for all Venezuelan migrants to have valid visas and passports, June 15, 2019. VOA

A survey by the International Organization for Migration finds Venezuelan migrants and refugees are at high risk of exploitation and abuse.  More than 4,600 people were surveyed in five Caribbean and Central American countries between July and December 2018.

The survey provides a snapshot of the hardships encountered by a fraction of the four million people who have fled Venezuela’s political and economic crisis over the past few years.

One in five Venezuelans interviewed said they were forced to work under dire conditions without pay or were held against their will until they paid off a debt they incurred while escaping from Venezuela.

Rosilyn Borland is an IOM senior regional migrant protection and assistance specialist based in Costa Rica.  On a telephone line from the Costa Rican capital, San Jose, she tells VOA both men and women fall victim to traffickers who force them into abusive situations.

Venezuelan, Migrants, Refugees
FILE – A Venezuelan migrant rests outside the Ecuadorean migrations office at the Rumichaca International Bridge, in the border between Tulcan, Ecuador, and Ipiales, Colombia on August 20, 2018. VOA

“It is good to remember that these criminal networks, they focus on the vulnerabilities,” she said.  “So, those can be linked to your gender or they can be linked to other things.  So, often we see trafficking and exploitation of women linked to gender-based violence and inequalities that women face.  But also, men who are searching for a way to support their families… may also find themselves in situations of vulnerability.”

Borland says many migrants and refugees face discrimination while in transit or in destination countries.  She says massive flows of people often bring out the worst tendencies in host communities.

“Part of our reasons for asking these questions has to do with fighting against xenophobia and things that, unfortunately, sometimes happen when communities are hosting large numbers of people.  It is difficult.  It is a strain,” she said.

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Borland says it is important to regularize migrants in the host countries.   She says allowing migrants to work legally brings them out of the shadows so they can fight for their rights.  She says having legal status would make them less vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. (VOA)