Life for Burmese refugees is difficult in India. Because they are not citizens and are different culturally and linguistically from the local population, many are ostracized and persecuted. Travel costs, language difficulties, and the risk of lost wages from missing work prevent many Burmese from accessing healthcare.
In a statement issued on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Obama administration will designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), offering Syrians currently living in the US a chance to stay in the country while the Assad regime continues its brutal suppression of the pro-democracy movement.
The Burmese government signed an agreement last week with the International Labor Organization to end forced labor in the country by 2015, but three years is far too long to wait.
Reports that Libya’s former spy chief, Abdullah al-Senussi, was apprehended late last week in Nouakchott, Mauritania, have sparked international discussion about where best to prosecute this wanted war criminal.
The Syrian government escorted a team of UN technical staff into the country this week. Although this ostensible show of glasnost may look encouraging, restricting UN agencies’ access will result in an unreliable assessment of Syria’s humanitarian needs.