Inflammation and stories on immigration

Eritrean Refugees
Refugees are fleeing Sub-Saharan Africa’s poverty in search for job opportunities, political freedoms and basic human rights. The sad reality of this situation is many of these opportunities are few and far in-between, and their lives rarely improve above the dire situation they were leaving.

Eritrea is one of the nations many have been fleeing from. Isayais Aferwerki, the despotic dictator who’s ruled Eritrea since its 1994 independence from Ethiopia, is a main reason. The nation is home to rampant poverty, media repression and political oppression. Adult-aged males are regularly conscripted into military service with no definite end-date, and the President was quoted as saying the nation was not ready for free elections for at least another 20-30 years. The constitution has been suspended and Eritrea remains single-party state, with opposition political groups regularly rounded up and jailed.

Around 200,000 Eritreans have left the nation in search of freedom, but it has resulted in a human rights crisis. Eritreans regularly flee to Sudan, Egypt and Israel only to be subjected to discrimination, and in some cases, have fallen into human trafficking. Israel has prevented refugees from entering by building a fence, which has resulted in asylum seekers slowing “to a trickle” of their original amount.

Human Rights Watch published a report detailing the crisis in early February stating that “refugees are commonly kidnapped, and their families extorted to pay for their release.” Those who manage to avoid kidnapping are usually deported back. HRW has focused on the culpability of Egyptian and Sudanese officials in the kidnapping crisis. The allegation has been made that corrupt officials have been benefiting financially from the situation and are actively cooperating with kidnappers.

Physicians for Human Rights released a damning report on the conditions many Eritrean refugees face on the trek to asylum. The imprisonment rate of those interviewed was around 59%, while 52% claimed they were violently abused at some point on their way to the Sinai Peninsula. Slave camps are prevalent in Egypt. In El-Arish, there are camps reported throughout the area, populated with “slave traders” who “demand ransoms” for the release of African refugees.

The report detailed that many of these refugees were tricked through “promises of being led to Israel” but rather held against their will, while other’s detailed “severe abuse.” Twenty percent of those interviewed also described witnessing murders. Israel can be considered culpable in this situation. With the building of the fence, the average of 1,500 refugees gaining asylum each month decreased to only 25 entering “between January and April 2013.”

Israel has also mounted a political campaign to defend their actions, decrying the Eritrean refugees as a “threat to Israeli society.” The public response to these accusations helped allow the government to enact stricter immigration legislation, allowing for slave traders to flourish in the wake.

The Anti-Infiltration Law was passed in January of 2012 by the Israeli Legislature of Knesset, and allowed the Israeli Government to detain any people found crossing the border. The law even prevents many of these refugees from receiving a speedy trail, allowing the Israeli state to detain undocumented immigrants for “minimum of three years.” If a undocumented immigrant is from a state considered belligerent to Israel, such as Sudan, they can be “detained indefinitely.”

It was a crushing defeat for many Africans in search of a new life free of oppression. With no options, many still flee, but they may not find the salvation they are in search of.

– Joseph Abay

Sources: Turkish Weekly, US State Department, Haaretz, The Voice, Sudan Tribune, DW, Physicians for Human Rights, Haaretz

CBP
It is early September and Guillermo Arevalo Pedroza is taking his wife and two young girls on a picnic on the south side of the Rio Grande. A couple of shots fired later and Arevalo is dying in the arms of his 9-year-old daughter. These are the types of atrocities that are occurring with dismaying frequency at the hands of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Juan Pablo Perez Santillan, Carlos Lamadrid, and Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca are some of the names of those who have lost their lives in similar incidents.

Questions continue to arise regarding the integrity of the CBP, especially in lieu of the recent shooting of 41-year-old Mexican native, Jesus Flores-Cruz.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, February 18th in Mission, Texas, when two agents on foot suspected multiple people of attempting to cross the border illegally from Mexico. One agent, whose identity remains undisclosed, fired two shots after being attacked by several rocks, killing Flores-Cruz. There were no witnesses.

In a statement following the incident, the Border Patrol claimed that the agent feared for his life at the time of the attack. Spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego, Kelly Thornton, said that prosecutors decided against charging the agent with a crime.

Amongst the responses to the shooting are many who are concerned about the continuing pattern of human rights abuses committed by the Border Patrol under their use-of-force policy.

Both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), as well as the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), expressed their indignation following the event. In a statement on behalf of the SBCC, director Christian Ramirez said that the incident “is yet another reminder that the Border Patrol operates with impunity and on the fringes of the Constitution and international law.”

Although bold, this statement holds weight given the number of people killed with lethal force by the CBP. Since 2010, 21 Mexican citizens have been killed, and not one agent involved in the deaths has been prosecuted for their use of lethal force.

This continuing use of lethal weapons raises questions about the agency’s lack of both accountability and oversight. For example, agents are not required to carry non-lethal repellents, such as ‘pepper ball’ guns, which shoot pellets of pepper spray at long-range distances. However, those agents who have made use of such devices have been successful at repelling rock attacks such as that which occurred in the case of Flores-Cruz. 160 separate incidents have been resolved by using these non-lethal devices.

Given that this is the case, it is highly alarming that the CBP rejected a recommendation that they prohibit agents from using lethal weapons against rock throwers and assailants in vehicles.

So, what can be done?

Twenty members of Congress have recently asked to meet with ranking members of the CBP to discuss their growing concern. In addition, the Police Executive Research Forum an independent police review agency, has issued a report with recommendations for the CBP. Among the recommendations are ways for agents to de-escalate tense encounters by taking cover, moving out of range, and/or using non-lethal weapons.

Customs and Border Protection boasts of being the largest law enforcement agency in the United States, which carries with it the responsibility of being accountable to the American public. If attacks continue, it could have serious implications for the CBP’s credibility and integrity.

– Mollie O’Brien

Sources: Southern Borders Communities Coalition, Latin Times, Daily News, ACLU
Photo: Deviant Art

venezuelan government
After weeks of Venezuelan protests in February, U.S. Senators are calling for sanctions to be placed upon Venezuelan government officials for their violent responses to the peaceful protests.

A Senate resolution proposing investigations and sanctions placed upon human rights violators in Venezuela was introduced in the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 27. Chairman Robert Menendez and Senator Marco Rubio were instrumental addressing the situation in Venezuela as they assert, “The (U.S.) should condemn Venezuela’s government for violently suppressing protests, and it should slap individual sanctions on mid and top-level officials associated with the regime in Caracas.”

The resolution also urges U.S. President Barack Obama to impose individual sanctions on government officials by denying or revoking visas, freezing their American assets and encouraging a process of dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition. The protests in Venezuela stand eerily similar to those in Ukraine and the United States government has responded similarly in both cases, which is to support peaceful resolutions and government accountability.

So far, the youth population and students have made up a substantial amount of protesters and have employed peaceful tactics to air their grievances against the Venezuelan government. Much of their unrest stems from poor economic policies that have resulted in “inflation that exceeds 50% annually, currency shortages, economic distortions, and the routine absence basic goods and foodstuffs.”

After two weeks of widespread protest, clashes between government and opposition forces have resulted in 14 deaths. In an effort to dissipate the movement, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro granted a six-day holiday to the people of Venezuela. Regardless, the protests have continued with several thousand demonstrators marching in Caracas on February 27. The National Guard responded to the protests in Caracas by implementing tear gas and water cannons to break up the march.

The situation in Venezuela has been riddled with human rights violations—as asserted by the international community—where people have been deprived of basic political rights and individual freedoms. In addition to resorting to violence to break up protests, the Venezuelan government has tried to censor media outlets covering the demonstrations. Thus far, Maduro has threatened to expel U.S. news correspondents from CNN, blocked online images of protests and censored domestic media outlets.

The resolution proposed by Robert Menendez and Marco Rubio aims to put an end to human rights violations and allow for the Venezuelan people to retain their individual liberties in living free and democratically.

Jugal Patel

Sources: Buenos Aires Herald, Latin American Herald Tribune, Bloomberg
Photo: International Business Times

sin nombre
Sin Nombre may seem like old news compared to Cary Fukunaga’s most recent project “True Detective.” This is especially the case since the newly popular HBO crime drama, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, has cemented the fledgling director’s reputation as a serious filmmaker.

However, before 2014’s “True Detective,” and even before his critically acclaimed 2011 adaptation of Jayne Eyre, Fukunaga debuted as a director with the much less watched Sin Nombre (Spanish for “nameless”). The 2009 U.S.-Mexican production tells the story of two emigrants travelling north through Mexico to the United States. One of them, a young girl from Honduras accompanied by her family. The other, a former gang member from Chiapas, Mexico, escaping from the Mara Salvatrucha, known colloquially as the infamous MS-13.

While the film lacked the mainstream success of some similar area films (like Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s “death trilogy”) it fared well on the festival circuit and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from critics. The film currently holds an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, a score of 77 on Metacritic and a 7.6 on IMDB. The film was popular both domestically and internationally, receiving awards at the Sundance and Stockholm film festivals, among others.

Sin Nombre is noted for its gritty and at times harrowing portrayal of Central American gang culture, particularly focusing on the entrapment faced by young men growing up in poverty. The film’s protagonist, known as El Casper, decides to escape after his gang leader questions his loyalty. Atop a northbound train, full of other U.S.-bound emigrants, Casper is befriended by a young girl named Sayra, despite her family’s reproach.

According to Roger Ebert’s review, Fukunaga was inspired by a story of 80 illegal immigrants found trapped in a truck in Texas, 19 of whom had died. Unlike many films on social issues, however, Sin Nombre is an apolitical and one could even say an amoral film, depicting the dangers of emigration without the politicking of immigration reform.

Though the film lacks the gloss, subtext and moral of what you would call “socially conscious films,” the movie is socially conscious in its own way, depicting desperation that transcends political ideals and the legality of immigration. Its message is not in its words, but in the adrenaline of watching its characters go through struggle.

The protagonist, after all, is hardly a hero. The film does not ask its viewers to respect or adore him. It shows the other side of the border which we rarely see, and tries to explain that for some, the risks of emigration are small compared to the consequences of home.

What is also important to note is how films like Sin Nombre have reached wide-ranging audiences through outlets such as Netflix—especially its “Watch Instantly” feature. Viewers looking to watch a film immediately (as opposed to planning to see it in theaters) are more likely to go beyond their genre comfort zone. The fact that films like Sin Nombre, Maria Full of Grace and Whore’s Glory have become well-known in the U.S.—all of which are foreign or transnational productions—shows how filmmakers can use neutral outlets such as Netflix to reach new audiences, sparking discussion and interest.

– Dmitriy Synkov

Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Meta Critic, Nth Position, Roger Rebert, IMDB, New York Times, The Borgen Project
Photo: Brad Nehring

Hot Bread Kitchen
Foreign-born and low-income workers have the opportunity to become financially independent through a culinary career at Hot Bread Kitchen (HBK) in New York City’s Spanish Harlem.

Due to a lack of English fluency or professional networks, immigrants are often forced to the periphery of society. HBK works to build a world where immigrants are accepted into mainstream culture and honored for their work. In the kitchen, the foreign-born workers are not only improving their English language skills, but learning about commercial baking and management.

Since its launch, HBK has trained 22 women from 11 different countries, and it has incubated 15 small businesses.

The bakery offers Project Launch, a paid on-the-job training program, and HBK Incubates, a small business incubation program. Most of the workers grew up learning how to bake traditional breads from family recipes, and the training programs are funded by the sale of multi-ethnic breads made by the bakers using local and organic ingredients.

Project Launch is an intensive workforce training program in artisanal baking and English fluency for foreign-born and low-income minority women. Participants in the program receive up to 35 hours per week of on-the-job bakery training, 16 hours of customer service training and three hours of English fluency classes.

After an average of nine months, the women are placed in management track positions in the culinary industry or advanced to the HBK Incubates, which helps them launch their own businesses. For those transitioning into professional positions, household wealth is improved, with salaries increasing an average of 106%.

Nancy Mendez started making tortillas by hand when she was 10 years old, but she could not afford professional cooking school in Mexico because of the cost. She now makes Mexican corn tortillas for HBK based on her grandmother’s recipe. Mendez, who moved to the U.S. almost 14 years ago, now runs the entire tortilla production process at HBK. The tortillas are sold at weekly farmer’s markets in New York and at small shops. The breads sold at HBK vary, from foccacia to rye and challah to lavash crackers; the bakery also sells granola. The tortillas are one of the bakery’s most popular items.

HBK is not the only non-profit kitchen that doubles as a training center — La Cocina in San Francisco and Hope & Main in Rhode Island are also kitchen training centers in addition to commercial enterprises. However, HBK is unique in that is pays its bakers for class time.
HBK products are sold at retailers all over Manhattan, Brooklyn and online.

– Haley Sklut

Sources: Hot Bread Kitchen, National Public Radio, Changemakers
Photo: Arbor Brothers

Young_People_Flee_Syria
A rising number of young people, as reported by the New York Times, are leaving Europe and the United States before migrating to Syria to wage jihad against President Bashar al-Assad. Bashar al-Assad‘s dictatorial rule is currently being weighed against the threat that the rebellion, which the Western world seems to support, is creating a new generation of jihadists.

All across Europe, people ranging from teachers to intelligence officials are reporting an increased push by Islamist radicals to recruit young Europeans to fight throughout Syria.

A majority of the people being recruited are men, but even some young women have been drawn to the fight in Syria. The possibility exists that these radicals are fighting in hopes of establishing an Islamic state, according to German officials and experts monitoring the trend.

Both American and European intelligence officials estimate that 1,200 young people have left to join Syria’s rebel group, some even having ties to Al Qaeda. Moreover, French President François Hollande stated that French intelligence has counted 700 French citizens and foreigners who have gone to Syria from France while maintaining that he does not support these recruitments.

According to Al Monitor, Hollande explained that as long as al-Assad is in power, there will be no political solution in Syria. Hollande, in fact, believes al-Assad is using Islamists to pressure the moderate position.

Moreover, Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, ranked international terrorism as his No. 1 problem, stating that his main concern involves the return of migrant youth from the Syrian battlefield with knowledge and training in the use of weapons and explosives. He reports that 240 people left Germany for Syria last year, most of them being young men from immigrant families unsuccessful at school or in life in general.

In Germany, the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is, has been one of the main sources of jihadist recruitment for Syria. The interior minister of Hesse, Boris Rhein, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in November that jihadist religious extremism is “the greatest security policy challenge” of the 21st century.

This thought process may be behind the reason why $2.4 billion has been given in aid to Syrian Civilians. Despite this large amount of money, Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, spoke at a donors conference, saying that $6.5 billion would be needed to provide the Syrian refugees and civilians all that they need for the year, according to the New York Times.

Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his point of view on the deterioration of Syria by explaining that the new aid will not be enough unless al-Assad stops “using starvation as a weapon of war” and allows the aid to reach those in need.

Another issue raising concern is that, historically, not all donor nations have followed through on their pledges. Therefore, despite the fact that $2.4 billion has been pledged it may not all come through. Throughout 2013 only 70% of the funding sought out by the United Nations for Syria was actually provided.

– Lindsey Lerner

Sources: New York Times: Flow of Westerners, New York Times: More is Needed, Al Monitor

citizenship_dominican_republic_protests
The Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic has decided to strip thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship, causing unruly behavior both inside and outside the country.

Latin American human rights groups are speaking out against the ruling and citing international and regional human rights models, believing the ruling to be fundamentally racist and inhuman, according to Al Jazeera.

Not only is the ruling causing issues in the Dominican Republic, but there have even been protests in New York City.  New Yorkers are, furthermore, not supportive of the annulment of citizenship of anyone born in the country to noncitizens after 1929. The New York Times reports that this decision is applicable to many as 200,000 people, mostly of Haitian decent.

Many have said that the ruling emphasized a history of racial prejudice in the country against not only Haitians, but their descendants as well.

Edward Paulino, assistant professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, who is Dominican-American, explains that, “Anything that’s seen as a criticism is seen as treasonous.”

Several years ago, two United Nations human rights experts described in a report a “profound and entrenched problem of racism and discrimination” against Haitians in particular, throughout the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has fought with criticism for its treatment of Haitian migrants and this ruling has brought shame upon people within the country as well as internationally. The residents are already struggling with poverty and social exclusion and it is not beneficial in any way for them to be denounced.

Throughout the ruling the United States has signed an agreement worth 184 million to improve citizen safety and promote economic growth according to Dominican Today. The agreement accompanies the new strategy by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that is working to provide assistance to support the growth of small Dominican business and get them out of extreme poverty.

The businesses are primarily in the rural sector and USAID assists them by identifying new market opportunities.  They are also providing training and technology transfers to help such businesses produce quality products and services.

Despite this assistance, people throughout the Dominican Republic are focused on the issue of citizenship. There are tens of thousands of lives hanging in the balance and inaction is no longer an option. They are working to get out of poverty and the issue surrounding citizenship is distracting from finding the correct solutions.

Lindsey Lerner

Sources: Al Jazeera, New York Times, Dominican Today
Photo: Crowd Voice

Seeking_Asylum_in_Australia
A recently married couple from Tehran just made their third attempt, along with 57 other asylum seekers, to reach Christmas Island, Australia.  If the weather is stable and the small boat holds up, their more than 200 mile trip across the Indian Ocean into Australian territory should last three days.  However, since June, this three day trip has ended tragically taking the lives of over 100 people.

The first “boat people” to seek asylum in Australia were the Vietnamese during the mid-1970s.  According to Luke Mogelson, a NY Times correspondent that actually endured one of these journeys posing as a refugee, Australia is extremely concerned with such people and, in response to such concerns, they adopted The Pacific Solution as a way to send asylum seekers to detention centers with the help of the Australian navy.

These detention centers are located in Papa New Guinea, or on the miniscule island state in Micronesia called The Republic of Nauru.  Both locations rely heavily on Australian aid.

Mogelson also mentions that, “over the past four years, most European countries have absorbed more asylum seekers, per capita, than Australia – some of them, like Sweden and Liechtenstein, seven times as many.”

As a result of such absorption, the Pacific Solution has been denounced repeatedly by refugee and human rights advocates.  The BBC reports that Australia plans to increase the capacity of their refugee center to more than 2,000 beds to cope with the demand.  Furthermore, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, also according to the BBC, promised to take a hard line approach to people smugglers, but insists that anyone seeking asylum will be treated humanely.

For the most part, the issue surrounding human smuggling prompts Australia to be weary of refugees.  Luke Mogelson from the NY Times has lived in Afghanistan and explains that the refugee smuggling business is conducted through a money transfer system known in the Muslim world as hawala.  This system is convenient especially for Afghani people that do not have legitimate bank accounts, but have family living abroad that are in need of remittances.

Unlike most refugees, the recently married couple from Tehran previously mentioned continuously persisted in getting to Christmas Island so their child would be born there.  Other refugees typically expect to be reunited with their respective families after arriving in Australia, few want to risk the lives of their children on the treacherous trip.

Despite the fact that thousands of refugees have died attempting to reach Christmas Island, people continue making the trip, some even more than once.  The conditions they endure during their trip are unthinkable, their dreams of a new life quickly being countered with the nightmare of a ride they face on the way to safety.

Lindsey Lerner

Sources: NY Times, BBC
Photo: The Australian

mongolia
It is no secret that the concerns and rights of ethnic minorities in China fall to the wayside in favor of the Han, the ethnicity with the majority in the country. Inner Mongolia serves as an example of the cultural and economic strife caused by marginalizing one group over another. The result is what the Mongol minority believes is outright economic exclusion and the watering down of their culture.

One of the key issues within the region is the migration of the indigenous nomads from their native grasslands to the cities. The Chinese government waves off the migration as a move into modernity for the nomads. A removal from what Chinese authorities refer to as a “backward” culture, but as Nick Holdstock of the U.K. Independent points out, the natives have no say whatsoever when it comes to moving to the cities. This outflow of ethnic Mongolians to urban centers has raised fears among Mongolians that their culture, language and lifestyle are being threatened.

Another point of tension lies in the regional mining of rare-earth metals. Various mining companies have entered the region to take advantage of the lucrative prospects, especially since the value of these metals is demonstrated in their ubiquity among high-tech electronics. However, the mining has been accompanied by a degradation of the surrounding environment as well as the health of the nomads.

For example, the town of Baotou, a major mining hub, has seen its groundwater polluted to toxic levels, their crops ruined and much of their livestock destroyed. Moreover, the use of underground water sources, essential to the removal of impurities from the coal, has lessened the water available to crops and livestock. Many farmers, unable to deal with destruction of their livelihood, have moved away. The Guardian points out that the population within the surrounding villages of the Baotou plants has decreased dramatically. Those that have remained in the area are plagued by severe illness.

All of these factors have coalesced, creating serious economic problems for the ethnic minority. Environmental devastation of their grasslands has degraded some of the main forms of their economic livelihood; the mining industry in the region tends to hire workers from other provinces, excluding the nomads from many of the economic benefits the industry might bring.  Furthermore, those who have migrated to urban areas have discovered cultural barriers to finding gainful employment, namely an inability to speak passable Mandarin.

Tensions have, moreover, reached the point of violence in some instances. In 2011, a herder was killed by a passing coal truck when he attempted to prevent coal trucks from crossing into his land during his protest against the mining industry. Several days later another protester was killed by a forklift driver. Tensions finally boiled over and several thousand Mongolians went out to voice their opposition toward the mining activities.

Unfortunately, the case of Inner Mongolia is a harsh reminder among ethnic minorities in China of their second-class citizen status. Perhaps in time, the Chinese government will listen to the voices of protest among the disenfranchised minority groups that populate many rural areas throughout China. Until then, Mongolians and other ethnicities face major economic and cultural challenges.

Zack Lindberg

Sources: The Independent, The Guardian
Fabio Ghioni

Syrian_Refugee_Camps_in_Demand
Overfull and varying widely in accommodation, Syrian refugee camps have become an international crisis. The United Nations has made the largest humanitarian appeal for aid ever at $5 billion to relieve the situation but has received less than $2 billion to date. Some 2.2 million refugees are currently scattered across Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt while more Syrians are fleeing war at an alarming pace. Estimates say more than 3 million refugees will be in those areas by January.

Such numbers are startling given the Syrian population before the onset of war was only  22.5 million. Lebanon, for example, has no official camps despite having more than a million refugees in its borders and does not allow the building of permanent refugee structures. Those who can afford it rent apartments or rooms in the cities at an exorbitant rate while others share the homes of sympathetic civilians or even inhabit abandoned buildings in depressed areas. In the northeast region, an average of 17 people per household are packed together according to a study conducted by Doctors Without Borders last year.

Water, food and healthcare are rationed out slowly and insufficiently, with less to go around as numbers rise. Employment for refugees was around 20% last year in Lebanon, and the economies of Iraq, Turkey and Jordan are in little better position to provide opportunities for such a rapid influx of labor.

Dependency on humanitarian aid is heightened and the desperation of the situation has many refugees working for extremely low wages in poor conditions and engaging in child labor. Economic and physical insecurity in Jordan’s Zataari camp has led parents to arrange hurried marriages for their teenage daughters as young as 14. Matchmakers recruit young girls for Saudi husbands but often end up as prostitutes or victims of “pleasure marriages” where the suitor divorces them after consummation.

Though some of Syria’s displaced persons find bourgeois  housing in Cairo or end up in one of Turkey’s refugee camps that consist of metal trailers with access to satellite T.V. and air conditioning, most see basic necessities and sanitation as luxuries. The Domiz camp in Iraq is made up primarily of tents and has 45,000 residents despite being designed for just 30,000. In just two weeks between August and September, more than 1,500 people were treated for upper respiratory infections there by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Security is also an issue in these camps with reports of rape, theft, kidnapping and murder being common. In the Zataari camp, Jordan security forces restrict entry but lack the manpower to adequately police the camp’s 120,000 residents. Other camps in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey reportedly funnel arms and recruits back into Syria. In Lebanon, crime has increased by 30% and increased tensions between Hezbollah and Sunni refugees may be behind the recent bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut.

Syria’s bordering nations are gradually increasing restrictions for entering refugees. Lebanon and Turkey are both planning to relocate some people to camps they wish to build within Syria’s insecure borders. Only about 25% of Syria’s refugees are actually in camps now, the rest are trying to survive by their own means. There are also an additional 3.8 million who are internally displaced.

Despite their faults, the refugee camps provide essential support and the need for more camps is evident, but where they can be built and how they will be funded is not so clear.

– Tyson Watkins

Sources: Medecins Sans Frontieres, World Health Organization, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Syrian Arab Republic,
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Moving Refugees, The Guardian, Integrated Regional Information Networks, BBC, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Syrian Regional Response Plan, Aljazeera, The Daily Star United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Stories from Syrian Refugees, The New York Review of Books
Photo: NPR