Afghan Refugees in Greece
Afghan Refugees in Greece. Credit: UN Refugee Agency

Greece to Shut Refugee Camp

Inauspicious timing: The government made the announcement as the World Humanitarian Summit kicked off in Istanbul. “Greece said Monday it will step up efforts to clear the squalid camp of Idomeni where over 8,400 migrants remain on the border with Macedonia after braving a winter in vain hope of being allowed through to Europe. ‘The transfer of refugees trapped at Idomeni to hospitality areas probably begins tomorrow (Tuesday),’ Yiorgos Kyritsis, the government’s migration spokesman, told state news agency ANA. Most of the migrants are to be moved to camps at former industrial facilities near Greece’s second city Thessaloniki over 10 days, he added, as Greek media reported that around a dozen squads of riot police were heading to Idomeni.” (AFP

A first ever debate…The World Federation of United Nations Associates held an historic debate between Thailand and Kazakhstan, who are vying for one seat open to Asian countries on the Security Council next year. Today, Italy, Netherlands, and Sweden will debate and face questions from fellow member states and civil society. Those three countries are competing for two seats open to European countries. (WFUNA

Movie review of the day...Sean Penn’s latest, set in West Africa, looks pretty terrible. And offensive! (Vulture

Stat of the Day...Increased investments to reducing stunting by 40 percent by 2025 could add $83 billion in additional GDP growth in just 15 sub-Saharan African countries. (

World Humanitarian Summit

Final draft of the official Political Communique from the World Humanitarian Summit:

A helpful explainer of what the so-called “Grand Bargain” is all about (UN Dispatch

ACT Alliance on the need for increased participation of local and national organisations in humanitarian policy and decision-making processes, in order to bring the much needed ecosystem of diverse local, national and international organisations necessary to move from delivering aid to ending need.  (ACT alliance


Kenyan police used teargas and water cannon to disperse protesters on Monday after demonstrations against an electoral body the opposition wants scrapped resumed in the afternoon. (Reuters

At least one person has died during opposition protests in Kenya’s western city of Kisumu. (BBC

Across Burkina Faso’s capital, even the wealthiest neighborhoods, typically spared from shortages, are suffering without water amid an unprecedented heat wave. Already the short supply has increased the price of a barrel of water more than 10 fold from just a few months ago. (AP

The European Union has urged authorities in Congo to breathe new life into the electoral process so that political chaos doesn’t undermine the chances for free, fair and inclusive polls. (AP

The European Union is criticizing “all parties” in South Sudan for human rights abuses and killings of civilians says they “must cease immediately.” (AP

Somalia’s president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, issued a decree to legalize the 2016 electoral process in Somalia, after the outgoing parliament failed to endorse the election rules. (VOA

South Africa’s main opposition party said on Monday the state prosecutor’s decision to appeal a High Court order that graft charges against President Jacob Zuma be reinstated was an attempt to shield the president. (Reuters

The United Nations said that Sudanese authorities had declined to renew a permit for the head of its humanitarian coordination office in Khartoum, Ivo Freijsen, saying he was being effectively expelled from the country. (Reuters

Nigeria’s central bank governors are meeting amid a gloomy financial outlook for Africa’s largest economy. Numbers released last week show the country’s economy contracting. Economists blame a shortage of fuel, persistent power outages and a fall in the production of Nigeria’s top moneymaker, oil. (VOA


A series of coordinated blasts hit bus stations, an electricity plant and a hospital across two Syrian cities Monday, killing at least 80 people in the first major security breach of President Bashar Assad’s coastal strongholds in the country’s five-year war. (NYT

Iraqi forces have begun an assault on Falluja, a city that has been held by the Islamic State longer than any other in Iraq or Syria, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a televised speech on Monday. (NYT

US industrial conglomerate General Electric said Monday it would invest $1.4 billion in Saudi Arabia in support of the kingdom’s recently unveiled plan to diversify the oil-dominated economy. (AFP

The United Nations Committee Against Torture, in its most recent evaluation of Tunisia, condemned the use of forced anal examinations as an attempt to find “proof” against people accused of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch said. (HRW

Nearly half of the 692 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East across the region have been impacted, attacked or otherwise rendered inoperable by conflict or violence in the last five years. (UNRWA


The United States announced a complete end to its arms embargo on Vietnam on Monday, a historic step that draws a line under the two countries’ earlier enmity and underscores their shared concerns about China’s growing military clout. (Reuters )

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed an agreement with Tehran on Monday for a transport corridor designed to open up a new route to Afghanistan via the Iranian port of Chabahar, circumventing Pakistan. (WSJ

India’s space agency ISRO has launched a rocket from its facility north of Chennai carrying an experimental spacecraft it hopes will mark an important step towards the country’s first re-usable space shuttle. (Al Jazeera

The Americas

Brazil’s interim government came under fire on Monday as a secret recording emerged of the planning minister discussing a purported pact to push for President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment to stall a massive corruption probe that has engulfed much of the nation’s political class. (AP

Doctors and scientists in Haiti are bracing for the possibility of a wave of rare disorders triggered by Zika in an impoverished country that has faced one public health crisis after another and is fertile ground for mosquito-borne scourges. (AP

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has declared a 60-day emergency in a remote part of the Amazon to curb high levels of mercury poisoning from rampant illegal gold mining, the country’s environment minister said on Monday. (Reuters

…and the rest

The spiralling crisis surrounding the Zika virus is the result of decades of policy failures on mosquito control and poor access to family planning services, the World Health Organization said Monday. (AFP

From 2017, actress Angelina Jolie will join the former foreign secretary William Hague as a “professor in practice”, announced the London School of Economics, as part of a new MSc course on women, peace and security, which LSE says is the first of its kind in the world. (Guardian

A boat carrying a 20-foot-tall inflatable figure of a refugee is likely to turn heads in Copenhagen’s harbor this week. The “inflatable refugee” is an artwork by Belgian artist collective Shellekens and Peleman, depicting a life-vest wearing refugee clutching his knees on the deck of the wooden boat. (AP


CFR’s Jennifer Harris discusses “geo-economics,” getting a Rhodes scholarship, and working for Hillary Clinton (Global Dispatches Podcast

Greece is emptying its largest refugee camp and the timing could not be worse. (UN Dispatch

Why do a million women still suffer the treatable condition of fistula? (Guardian

10 Things You Should Know About Women & the World’s Humanitarian Crises UNFPA

Why land means hope for India’s vulnerable single women (TRF

25 Years After Independence Eritreans Still Yearn for Freedom (The Conversation

World humanitarian summit starts amid hope, hype and fear of empty words (Guardian

‘Enfants du Pays’ Project Remembers Victims of Burundi’s Crisis With Life Stories and Artwork (Global Voices