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COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
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Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
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After almost three months of jumping up and down in place, the newly invested Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has hit the ground running in the worst possible direction. The head of the anti-immigrant party, the League, Salvini has…
Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini arrives at the Republic Day military parade in Rome, Italy, June 2, 2018.
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Italian judge’s releases rescue ship but upholds legal fiction of Libyan search and rescue zone. Judith Sunderland from Human Rights Watch explains why the contradiction matters.

WE MAY NEED to curb our enthusiasm over an Italian judge’s April 16 decision to release the rescue ship Open Arms, operated by the Spanish group Proactiva, which Italy impounded a month ago. Although the Open Arms may soon sail again and…
A rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) approaches the MV Open Arms, the search and rescue ship of Proactiva Open Arms, in the central Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, December 16, 2017
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Pressure is building on Afghan and Somali refugees to go home, even if they no longer have homes to return to. It is not surprising that this pressure is coming from governments that have been hosting huge numbers of refugees and want…
Member of Greek Red Cross helps an Afghan refugee who has just arrived from Turkey with an inflatable boat in the area of airport of Mytilene, Lesvos Island, Greece.
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Kenya is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, which provides shelter to 360,000 mostly Somali refugees. In May 2016, Kenya’s government disbanded its department responsible for refugees and announced plans to repatriate Somalis and close…
An aerial view shows makeshift shelters at the Dagahaley camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya. Photo taken April 2011.
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Journalists in Somalia are increasingly coming under attack. For many years, the main threat to the media has come from Al-Shabaab, the Islamist armed group that controls large parts of the country. But, as a new report by Human Rights Watch has found,…
A picture of a hand writing on notepad.
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The EU is responsible for correcting the irrational, irresponsible debate about migration to Europe. So far, it’s failed.

Imagine the Hollywood blockbuster about one boat’s perilous journey in the Mediterranean. The Eritrean mother with her five-year-old son, the 16-year-old Afghan boy traveling on his own, and the Syrian patriarch with his entire family — they would be the…
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On the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa stands a graveyard filled with simple wooden crosses. We don’t know the names and stories of those buried there, except that they perished at sea trying to reach Europe, fleeing conflict in Syria, human-rights…
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“Aman.” a 29-year-old Eritrean, had just described his arduous journey to Europe when I heard the news about hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean. He, like many others I spoke with last week in Dresden, risked their lives last summer crossing from war-…
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Calls for Europe to Help Fund Mare Nostrum Have Been Largely Ignored

The Italian Navy’s twitter feed contained joyous news last week: a pregnant mother among the 90 people rescued from the sea by a Navy frigate had given birth on board to a little girl, Yambambi. Over that weekend more than 1,600 people were rescued. While…
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Absorbing Migrants Crossing the Mediterranean Would Be Manageable if the Costs Were Spread Across the EU

An Italian naval vessel made a grim discovery in the Mediterranean Sea last month. Alerted that a 20-meter fishing vessel was in distress, the crew located and began evacuating the 600 or so migrants on board. The Italian navy captain told the BBC that…
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My twitter feed on Monday was full of the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean. At least 17 people died when an overcrowded boat sank on the crossing from Libya to Italy, with many more still unaccounted for. We don’t know their names or their stories.…
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Mohamed, a 22-year old Somali, was in Saudi Arabia and made a living washing cars. In late 2013, due to increasing government pressure on employers of undocumented workers, Mohammed was fired. In December, after several weeks without a job, he handed…
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Oped on cnn.com

This week kicks off one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Millions will set out for Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates how refugees from religious persecution found freedom in a new land. I’ll be one of those traveling. And while I’m looking…
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Fewer migrants may be dying at sea, but they still face arbitrary treatment onshore. On 9 July, the Maltese authorities decided to put about 45 Somali men on a plane to Libya, where migrants are often arbitrarily arrested, ill-treated and exploited. The…