The Refugee Brief – The UN Refugee Agency’s daily news digest.


Italy refuses safe harbour to rescued refugees and migrants. Italy’s interior minister has said that a ship belonging to the German charity Sea Eye, which picked up 64 refugees and migrants on Wednesday from a rubber dinghy off the coast of Libya, will not be allowed to dock in Italy . Sea Eye said its rescue ship, the Alan Kurdi, picked up the group, who included 10 women, five children and a newborn baby, after failing to get through to the Libyan authorities. Sea Eye said 50 more people it had been searching for since Monday remained missing, while IOM reported that another boat with 41 people on board had not been seen since departing Libya on 23 March.
UN announces funding to help internally displaced South Sudanese returning home. The UN has allocated US$11 million in emergency funding to help 268,000 people displaced by conflict within South Sudan as they return to their homes. The funding will be used to provide food, farming tools and seeds, shelter materials and other basics ahead of the rainy season starting in May, when access to many areas is cut off. South Sudan’s humanitarian coordinator, Alain Noudéhou, said increasing numbers of displaced people across the country had been returning to their home areas since the beginning of the year. “It is vital that they do this in a voluntary, informed and dignified way,” he said. Nearly two million people have been displaced within South Sudan, while another 2.3 million have fled to neighbouring countries since conflict broke out in late 2013. Devex reports on aid agencies’ concerns about people returning to areas experiencing high levels of food insecurity where the humanitarian response is already stretched.


Dozens killed in tit-for-tat clashes in Burkina Faso. More than 60 civilians have been killed in northern Burkina Faso in recent days, the government said on Wednesday. Islamist attacks have been rising in recent months, reigniting long-standing tensions between communities and displacing more than 115,000 people, according to UNHCR. Last month, the UN refugee agency said the violence was severely hampering efforts to reach displaced people with aid. Reuters reports that the latest bout of violence occurred near the town of Arbinda in Burkina’s Soum province on Sunday night, when a religious leader and six of his family members were killed by armed men. Reprisal violence was reported in Arbinda, and another attack in neighbouring Boulgou province left at least nine dead.
Venezuelans break through barricades to cross into Colombia. Thousands of Venezuelans broke through barricades on the Simón Bolívar bridge , which links Venezuela with Colombia, on Tuesday, according to Colombia’s migration agency. The bridge has been closed since February, when the Venezuelan security forces blocked a US-backed effort to bring hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid into the country. Venezuelans desperate to reach Colombia in search of food, medicines and work have been wading across the Tachira River, but torrential rains in recent days have made that impossible.

UN rights experts condemn India’s deportations of Rohingya back to Myanmar. Five UN human rights experts issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the Indian government’s decision to deport three more Rohingya to Myanmar last week. India has returned 16 Rohingya to Myanmar since October 2018. Another 242 Rohingya are in detention, including registered asylum-seekers, according to UNHCR. The rights experts said the returnees faced a high risk of attacks, reprisals and other forms of persecution in Myanmar because of their ethnic and religious identity. They pointed out that, under international law, States are prohibited from forcing individuals to return to countries where they would be at risk of persecution or human rights violations.


Former Somali refugee and Sheffield’s youngest ever lord mayor, Magid Magid, will be stepping down from the role next month when his current term ends. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, he called on all young people to keep fighting for a better world by pledging never to forget the “Five C’s” of Compassion, Courage, Community, Cope and Change.


The UN estimates that 6.5 million people in South Sudan – more than half the population – are facing extreme hunger.

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