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  • Fleeing Iraqis join large tide of displaced people

  • Eritrean female asylum seekers sit along with their children on the sidewalk in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, June 20, 2014. Since April 29, over 200 Eritrean asylum seekers including women and children living on the streets of Sanaa wait to be resettled to a third country. For the first time since the World War II era, the number of people forced from their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)TAZA KHORMATO, Iraq (AP) — In a battered car loaded with blankets and clothes, Hassan Abbas left with his mother from a dusty town in northern Iraq, fleeing this week's violence and joining what the United Nations says is the largest worldwide population of displaced people since World War II.



  • AP PHOTOS: Glimpse at refugees, as UN count surges

  • Eritrean female asylum seekers sit along with their children on the sidewalk in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, June 20, 2014. Since April 29, over 200 Eritrean asylum seekers including women and children living on the streets of Sanaa wait to be resettled to a third country. For the first time since the World War II era, the number of people forced from their homes worldwide has surged past 50 million, the United Nations refugee agency said Friday. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)Women and children seeking asylum from Eritrea sit along a sidewalk in Sanaa, Yemen. Syrian refugee children play soccer at a camp in Lebanon. Iraqis fleeing violence in the city of Mosul carry their belongings as they arrive at a refugee camp north of Baghdad.



  • Nearly 4,000 Eritreans flee each month, says UN

  • An Eritrean refugee holds his child at Sudan's Shagarab refugee camp in Kassala on January 12, 2012Brutal government repression and a system of forcing all citizens into decades of military conscription is driving nearly 4,000 Eritreans to flee every month, a UN expert said on Thursday. The numbers escaping the autocratic Horn of Africa country have increased from around 3,000 per month at the beginning of the year, Sheila Keetharuth told reporters in Geneva, describing the exodus as "shocking". "The first reason for this exodus, as I call it, is the national service," said the UN's monitor on the rights situation in Eritrea, referring to the system of open-ended conscription of all men and women at the age of 18. The national service, which Keetharuth equated with "forced labour", as well as other serious rights violations committed under the iron-grip rule of President Issaias Afeworki were forcing ever more people to flee, she said.



  • EU should share out refugees rescued at sea: UNHCR

  • By Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) - European Union countries should help Italy absorb the huge number of migrants arriving by boat from North Africa, by agreeing to take in people rescued in international waters, a U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman said on Friday. The EU law governing asylum seekers - the Dublin Regulation - requires the country where a person first arrives to handle their application, putting extra pressure on countries, like Italy, on the EU's outer edge to take in migrants. But those rescued in international waters could be taken in by any EU country, perhaps according to a negotiated quota system, said Carlotta Sami, southern Europe's spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Last year, the majority of the more than 40,000 migrants who reached Italy by sea were fleeing Syria's civil war and Eritrea's harsh military service.
  • Eritrean bishops criticise 'desolate' nation

  • Eritrean children look on, holding the barbed wires at Sudan's Shagarab refugee camp in Kassala on January 12, 2012Such outspoken views are rarely heard from inside Eritrea, ranked worst in the world for press freedom by the rights group Reporters Without Borders. "There is no reason to search for a country of honey if you are in one," the letter in Eritrea's Tigrinya language read, according to a translation from the opposition website Awate.com. Eritrea's youth were leaving in search of "peaceful countries, to countries of justice, of work, where one expresses himself loudly, a country where one works and earns," the letter added, signed by four bishops from the country's influential Coptic Orthodox Church. There was no immediate response from Eritrea's Ministry of Information.



  • Italy, Malta say 'forgotten' by EU over migrant influx

  • Handout picture released by Italian Navy on June 6, 2014, shows migrants on a boat being arrested and rescued by the Italian army off the coast of SicilyItaly and Malta on Sunday said they had been "forgotten" by Europe amid a massive influx of migrants -- an accusation rejected by Brussels which admitted however that other countries could do more to help. Thousands of migrants -- mainly from Eritrea and Syria but also sub-Saharan Africa -- have arrived or are on their way in what Malta said was the "biggest" search and rescue operation in recent years. Italy said that more than 50,000 migrants have landed since on its shores the start of the year -- around the same numbers as for the whole of last year. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat criticised the European Union in an interview with One Radio saying: "Europe has forgotten everyone.



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