Countries across the globe are flouting international law and violating refugees’ rights, reveals the recently released World Refugee Survey 2009. Thailand – whose navy dragged disabled boats full of Rohingya refugees from Burma out to sea and abandoned them – is one culprit; along with South Africa, where xenophobic mob attacks have killed dozens of foreigners and driven tens of thousands from their homes; Kenya, which has forced hundreds of Somalis back over the border, often beating and bribing them in the process; Egypt, whose border guards shot and killed 30 African migrants who were trying to cross into Israel; Turkey, which caused the death of four people by forcing them to try to swim across a swift river to Iraq; and Malaysia, where immigration officials have been selling deported refugees into slavery.
On the plus side, Brazil, Costa Rica and Ecuador have all created schemes to enable the swift integration of refugees into their societies. Palestinian Ibrahim Said Abu-Zahra, recently arrived in Brazil, enthuses: ‘I am very happy. I have documentation. now I am Brazilian, and I want to live in this country forever.’