The Refugee World Cup – Wednesday 18 June

Playing today: Australia, Netherlands, Spain, Chile, Cameroon, Croatia

Australia

In December 2010, a flimsy boat was wrecked by a storm on the cliffs of Christmas Island.  50 of the 89 men, women and children aboard, all asylum seekers, predominantly from Iran and Iraq, died.

Netherlands

In the mid-16th century, many Protestant Walloons and Flemings came to England to escape warfare and religious persecution, arriving in England through the Channel ports, many initially settling in Sandwich, until the numbers became too great.   Subsequently, the Walloons were permitted to move to Canterbury, and were welcomed by the city.  ‘The strangers (as they were called), were allowed to gather for worship at the church of St Alphege, opposite the Archbishop’s Palace, and later in the western crypt of the Cathedral.  Most of the refugees were engaged in the weaving trade, and provided local employment, and a flourishing trade in finished cloth for sale in London or abroad.

Spain

In 1937, during the Spanish civil war, a group of almost 4,000 children was evacuated from Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain. They embarked from Santurce, Bilbao, on the ‘Habana’ on Friday 21st May and dropped anchor at Fawley, at the entrance to Southampton Water, on Saturday evening. The following morning, Sunday 23rd, they docked at Southampton.  Initially accommodated in a large camp at North Stoneham, Eastleigh, they were eventually dispersed to many ‘colonies’ throughout the country.

Chile – Julio Parrado tells the story of his arrest and torture after the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile, and how he found sanctuary in Sweden.

Cameroon

A few weeks ago photographer Frederic Noy went to Cameroon with UNHRC to photograph the arrival of Central African refugees fleeing the violence in their country.

Croatia

The UN Refugee Agency is recommending that the process of ceasing refugee status of refugees displaced from Croatia in the 1990s begins. Almost 20 years after the conflict in the former Yugoslavia ended, the circumstances that triggered displacement have fundamentally changed. Regional cooperation has intensified, voluntary returns have taken place, different ethnic groups have proven able to peacefully co-exist and economic and political progress is increasingly visible.  Meanwhile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia continue their efforts to find sustainable housing solutions for some 74,000 vulnerable refugees, returnees and IDPs from the 1991-1995 conflicts.

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