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Monday 6th May to Sunday 12th May 2024

An unprecedented 108.4 million people around the world have been forced from their homes - every 2 Seconds a Person is Displaced according to UNHCR

Myanmar Displacement Reaches 3 million
The conflict in Myanmar has now internally displaced at least 3 million people, the office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar said in a statement on Monday.
Internally displaced people increased by 50% in the past six months due to an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the military and armed groups, the statement said.
The February 2021 coup – in which the military junta took over power – worsened the pre-existing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and the situation has only escalated since, as fighting has intensified between the junta and armed opposition groups. The UN says some 18.6 million people, more than a third of the population, now require humanitarian assistance.
Both the junta and armed opposition groups have been accused of human rights abuses, with the latter making significant territorial gains in recent months. Facing a more challenging outlook on the battlefield, the junta has now initiated a mandatory conscription programme, which has prompted more people to look for ways to flee the country.
As the dynamics on the ground changed, The New Humanitarian recently explored a controversial aid proposal that would have seen attempts to deliver aid across greater parts of the country, working more closely with the armed opposition groups. For more, read: 

The UN envoy, the controversial aid plan, and Myanmar’s fast-changing conflict

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - May 2024

Conflict Risk Alerts: Myanmar - Israel/Palestine - Lebanon - Sudan

Resolution Opportunities: None

Deteriorated Situations: Colombia - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Georgia - Bangladesh - Myanmar - Mali Israel/Palestine - Lebanon - Iran - Ethiopia

An Israeli airstrike on an Iranian consular facility in Syria triggered the first ever direct military confrontation between Iran and Israel, as Tehran launched hundreds of drones and missiles in a retaliatory attack on Israeli territory 

Tensions surged in Mali as the government suspended the political activities of all political parties and associations, while announcing elections would not be held until the country regained stability.
In Ethiopia, clashes erupted between Tigray and Amhara forces in disputed territories, displacing tens of thousands.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissident group known as EMC fractured, plunging negotiations with the Colombian government into uncertainty and fuelling fears of violent escalation.

In Bangladesh, a surge in attacks by an ethnic armed group, the Kuki-Chin National Front, in the Chittagong Hill Tracts derailed nascent peace talks and prompted a major operation by security forces.

Security forces in Georgia cracked down on protesters opposing the ruling party’s reintroduction of its controversial “foreign agents” legislation.

Improved Situations: Venezuela

Conflict In Focus: Iran

Our monthly conflict tracker highlights four conflict risks in May. 

Israel continued its war in Gaza, bringing the death toll since 7 October to over 34,500 Palestinians. Famine in Gaza’s north is shaping up to be the world’s worst relative to population size of the past few decades. Israeli leaders reiterated their threat to invade Rafah city, which could kill or again displace many of the more than one million Palestinians who have sought refuge there.

Lebanon continued to face the spectre of all-out war as deadly cross-border hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah expanded in scope and severity.

Sudan fears of all-out intercommunal conflict in Sudan’s North Darfur escalated as the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and Darfuri armed groups prepared for war and the Sudanese Armed Forces intensified bombings of Arab areas.

Myanmar ethnic armed groups in the south east, west and north inflicted battlefield setbacks on the regime, highlighting the extent of the regime’s weakness and setting the stage for further hostilities in May. Communal tensions escalated in Rakhine state, foreshadowing potential violence, including against civilians.

Aside from the scores of conflict situations we regularly assess, we tracked significant developments in the Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gabon, Mauritania, Moldova, South Africa and Togo.

Source: Crisis Watch, https://www.crisisgroup.org/crisiswatch

Struck-Off Solicitor Jailed For More Immigration Offences

A solicitor struck off after being convicted of immigration law offences while suspended has now been jailed for seven and a half years for fraudulent immigration advice. Flora Magadaline Mendes duped 19 victims into thinking they were using the services of a legitimate immigration lawyer and promised to help secure them leave to remain in the UK in return for payment. In 14 cases, she tried to scam a scheme set up for immigrants affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, and in a further five, the Indian national, 45, sought to exploit a scheme set up for those affected by the Windrush scandal. The Home Office said it had seized assets totalling more than £700,000 following Ms Mendes’s conviction. When handing down sentence, the judge noted her repeat offending.

Read more: Neil Rose, Legal futures, https://rb.gy/huzeq4

Hundreds of Potentially Trafficked Children ‘Abandoned by Home Office’

Children identified as potential victims of trafficking are being abandoned by the Home Office and left vulnerable to exploitation, new data reveals. Released following a freedom of information (FoI) request, figures show that in 2022, 1,871 children identified as possible victims of trafficking or modern slavery dropped off the UK government system conceived to support them once they turned 18.

To access comprehensive help in the UK, suspected victims are assessed under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). About half of the children who fell out of the NRM when they turned 18 were British.

In total, 70% of the 2,634 children who turned 18 while waiting to be formally identified as a trafficking victim disappeared from the NRM. Half of them had their cases “suspended” by the Home Office as a result of them not giving their consent to stay in the system, while another 20% actively withdrew from the scheme. Many children do not realise they need to give consent to remain listed on the NRM. Some are not even aware that they have been referred to it.

Read more: Mark Townsend, Guardian, https://shorturl.at/depN5

‘Wild West’ for Personal Data Undermines UK Human Rights

Basic legal rights are being undermined by public authorities in the UK, by failing to disclose what personal data they hold on individuals, including victims of human trafficking and the Windrush scandal, openDemocracy can reveal. People requesting copies of their private information, such as police or immigration records, have faced long delays or had their requests ignored entirely. Others have been given folders with key documents missing.

This is having a knock-on effect in the justice system, with lawyers telling openDemocracy that asylum applications and claims for false imprisonment have been put on hold due to the delays. Victims of the Windrush Scandal have also struggled to obtain copies of their immigration papers in order to claim compensation. The UK’s data protection laws allow individuals to request a copy of any of their personal data that is held by an organisation.

These applications, known as Subject Access Requests (SARs), have become a vital tool for collecting evidence in legal cases, as well as helping to hold authorities to account. ‘Wild West’ Individuals affected have almost no way to challenge their case. This has created a ‘wild west’ of personal data, in which public organisations are effectively free to flout the law.

Read more: Open Democracy, https://shorturl.at/akU56

Government Defeated in High Court Over Climate Plans

The government has been defeated in court - for a second time - for not doing enough to meet its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental campaigners argued that the energy minister signed off the government's climate plan without evidence it could be achieved.

The High Court ruled on Friday 3rd May that the government will now be required to redraft the plan again. In response the government defended its record on climate action.

The legal challenge was brought by environmental groups Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and The Good Law Project. Tony Bosworth, lead campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it was "an embarrassing day for the government". Speaking outside the court to BBC News he said: "What we now need to see is a climate plan which is robust, which is comprehensive and which is fair, which makes sure we meet all our climate targets, and which does that in a way which doesn't leave anybody behind."

Read more: Esme Stallard, BBC News, https://shorturl.at/qGT12





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36 Deaths Across the UK Detention Estate

UK Human Rights and Democracy 2020

Hunger Strikes in Immigration Detention

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