UN urges Europe to help with mi­grants

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

year, 83,650 peo­ple have reached Italy by sea, an in­crease of nearly 20 per­cent com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, UN fig­ures show.

Nearly all of Italy’s 200,000 places for ac­com­mo­dat­ing mi­grants have been filled.

Many of the mi­grants need health­care and sup­port, with a large per­cent­age of them nonac­com­pa­nied chil­dren and vic­tims of sex­ual vi­o­lence, says the UN.

The num­ber of migrant chil­dren ar­riv­ing on their own rose two-fold be­tween 2015 and 2016, reach­ing 25,846 at the end of last year.

Vi­o­lence in Calais

Europe has been grap­pling with the worst mi­gra­tion cri­sis since the end of World War II with an in­flux of peo­ple flee­ing the wars in Syria and Iraq while oth­ers from Africa are seek­ing an es­cape from poverty or po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.

And there con­tinue to be flare-ups of vi­o­lence sparked by the ten­sions among the mi­grants and refugees gath­ered in Western Europe. Nearly 500,000 Syr­ian refugees re­turn home in 2017: UN

UNITED NA­TIONS — The UN refugee agency said that more than 440,000 in­ter­nally dis­placed peo­ple and more than 31,000 Syr­ian refugees over­seas have re­turned to their homes in Syria so far this year, UN Spokesper­son Stephane Du­jar­ric said.

The United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees noted that due to spon­ta­neous re­turns of refugees to and within Syria, it has started scal­ing up its op­er­a­tional ca­pac­ity in­side the coun­try, said Du­jar­ric.

Since 2015, some 260,000 refugees have re­turned to Syria, pri­mar­ily from Turkey, ac­cord­ing to the UNHCR.

The Syr­ian war, now into its sev­enth year, has taken a toll on the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion with hun­dreds of thou­sands be­ing killed, around 6.3 mil­lion be­ing dis­placed within the coun­try, and 5.1 mil­lion be­ing forced to flee as refugees outside its bor­ders.

Over the past months, the sit­u­a­tion is par­tic­u­larly dire in Raqqa, where an of­fen­sive was launched to take the city from the Is­lamic State group. Around 25,000 have re­port­edly fled the city since mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions started, how­ever as many as 100,000 civil­ians could still be trapped there.

In the north­ern French port city of Calais, riot po­lice stepped in over the past two days to break up fight­ing among African mi­grants armed with sticks and rocks.

Fight­ing be­tween Eritre­ans against Ethiopi­ans on Satur­day left 16 peo­ple in­jured, with po­lice mak­ing 10 ar­rests.

That fol­lowed brawls on Fri­day night when se­cu­rity forces used tear gas to dis­perse the feud­ing sides, Calais Mayor Philippe Mignonet said.

“In the past 12 hours, in terms of vi­o­lence, there’s been an es­ca­la­tion,” he told AFP.

Calais has for years been a mag­net for mi­grants and refugees hop­ing to cross the Chan­nel to Bri­tain.

Last Oc­to­ber, France broke up the no­to­ri­ous tent camp known as “the Jun­gle” trans­fer­ring thou­sands of mi­grants to cen­ters around the coun­try.

But hun­dreds re­main near the port, mostly Africans and Afghans, who clash spo­rad­i­cally with po­lice as they make nightly at­tempts to stow away onto trucks head­ing across the Chan­nel to Bri­tain.

Last month, a Pol­ish driver was killed when his truck burst into flames af­ter hit­ting a road­block set up by mi­grants hop­ing to slow the traf­fic to make it eas­ier to jump onto ve­hi­cles.

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