Costa Rica News | Haitian Migrants

Haitian migrants in Costa Rica seeking passage to U.S. pose as West African to avoid deportation
  • The ongoing migration bottleneck in Costa Rica continues to pile up, with 100 to 150 new arrivals each day adding to the 2,500 already stranded in the overwhelmed country.
  • The majority of undocumented migrants are Haitian, many coming from Brazil with some posing as West African in an attempt to avoid deportation, deprioritized for those from distant countries because of the high cost.
  • Haitians point to ongoing economic destitution in their home country, poor prospects in host countries like Brazil and Ecuador, and what they perceive as a double standard of preferential treatment for certain migrants as motivation for migrating and the tactical deception.

Read more:
IOM Reports Growing Number of Irregular Migrants Stranded in Costa Rica” (International Organization for Migration, via ReliefWeb)
95% de los migrantes irregulares son haitianos ‘disfrazados’ de africanos” (La Nación, in Spanish)
Flood of ‘Muhammad Alis’ Highlights New Migration Toward U.S.” (Bloomberg)

(Image Credit: José Cordero/La Nación)

India News | Women

Indian state strengthens property rights for slum-dwelling women
  • Women living in slums in the state of Maharashtra will now hold ownership rights equal to men thanks to a new land title plan.
  • The plan comes as the government seeks to regularize slums in the state, giving families land titles with joint ownership between marital partners.
  • Though the development has been lauded, advocates warn that women continue to struggle to exercise equal rights once gained, with lack of education and intimidation perpetuating gender-based legal inequalities.

Read more:
India’s Maharashtra state to give women slum dwellers joint ownership rights” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)

(Image Credit: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

U.S. News | Syrian Refugees

U.S. meets target of 10,000 Syrian refugee admissions
  • The White House announced that the 10,000th Syrian refugee had been scheduled for arrival a month before the end of the fiscal year, with Michigan and California topping the list of most popular destinations for arrivals.
  • The number of admissions is expected to be capped at 10,000 again for 2017, though plans have been announced to increase the number by a few thousand each year thereafter.
  • The number of admissions will be contingent upon the outcome of the 2016 national elections, with refugee admissions and immigration more broadly a controversial topic in the presidential campaigns.

Read more:
U.S. to meet target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees: White House” (Reuters)
US meets goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees ahead of schedule” (The Guardian)
Top Destinations for Syrian Refugees: Michigan and California” (NBC News)

(Image Credit: David Ryder/Reuters)

India News | Muslim Women

Indian court grants women access to famous Islamic tomb in Mumbai
  • The Bombay High Court ruled that trustees of the Haji Ali tomb could not ban women from entering the tomb, though the decision was stayed in anticipation of an appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Although India’s constitution protects religious groups’ rights to manage their own affairs, the Court invoked an exception for matters that are not “an essential and integral part of the religion.”
  • The ruling follows a similar one earlier in the year allowing Hindu women access to temples in the state of Maharashtra.

Read more:
Indian Court Orders Haji Ali Tomb to Give Women Full Access” (The New York Times)
Women can enter Haji Ali sanctum, rules HC” (The Hindu)
Haji Ali: India court says women can enter Mumbai shrine” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Punit Paranjpe/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)

France News | Muslim Women

French court overturns ban on burkinis in Villeneuve-Loubet
  • The State Council, the highest administrative court in the country, ruled the ban on the religiously inspired bathing suit constituted a violation of civil liberties, including freedom of movement and religious freedom.
  • The decision opens the door to challenges to similar bans in at least 30 other municipalities.
  • The bans have roiled political tensions in the aftermath of IS-coordinated and -inspired attacks in the country, with government officials and civil liberties advocates clashing over the limits of the national security apparatus.

Read more:
Court Overturns ‘Burkini’ Ban in French Town” (The New York Times)
Le Conseil d’Etat met un terme aux arrêtés « anti-burkini »” (Le Monde, in French)
Burkini ban suspended by top French court” (euronews)

(Image Credit: Hannah Mckay/European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)

Japan Feature | Refugees & Immigrants

The Narrow Lane of Life for Refugees in Japan

“The truth is I have lived in Japan for such a long time. … All I want to do is work and carry out a decent life.”

Despite international pressure, Japan has allowed only a trickle of politically persecuted and war-fleeing migrants to make their way into the country, with migrants only accounting for 2% of the population. The government’s economy-first stance has led some to question political blindness to the relationship between immigration and the economy, and Japan’s declining birth rate and aging population have led pro-immigration advocates and the business community alike to push for a relaxation of immigration policies.

The New York Times takes a closer look at the situation facing Kurdish refugees in the context of Japan’s political and cultural resistance to immigration. Visa-free travel made Japan an alluring destination as violence in the 1990s led many Turkish Kurds to look abroad for relief from conflict, but arrivals have found significant resistance to demographic change in the country. The same fears that drive anti-immigrant sentiment globally have been amplified in the largely ethnically homogeneous echo chamber of Japan: ignorance of cultural backgrounds, limited economic prospects, and hyperpolicing have created a narrow lane for Kurds to thrive.

Read more:
Ethnic Kurds Find Haven, but No Home, in Insular Japan” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Ko Sasaki/The New York Times)

Peru News | Women

#NiUnaMenos demonstrations brings tens of thousands out in Peru
  • The campaign, which has ignited throughout Latin America, protests the high levels of gender-based violence women face, with a particular focus on women’s and girls’ vulnerability to femicide.
  • Peru’s women’s minister indicated that 10 women are killed per month in the country, with an additional 20 attempted murders.
  • A series of court rulings that gave reduced or lenient sentences to perpetrators of violence against women led to social media outcry, which has fueled the demonstrations that reportedly brought out more at least 50,000 in downtown Lima, including the President and First Lady.

Read more:
#NiUnaMenos: 50,000 protest violence against women in Lima” (Peru Reports)
Women in Peru protest against rising tide of murder and sexual crime” (The Guardian)
#NiUnaMenos: así fue la marcha contra la violencia a la mujer” (El Comercio, in Spanish)

(Image Credit: Omer Musa Targal/Getty Images, via The Guardian)