Category Archives: Immigration

EU blames Libya Al Khoms shipwreck tragedy

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of a shipwreck off the coast of Al Khoms where over 100 persons may have lost their lives. This is a terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those making this dangerous journey to Europe. Every life lost is one too many. Our aim has always been to prevent lives being lost at sea and we will continue our work to prevent these perilous journeys taking place in the first place” , wrote in a joint statement EU top diplomat Federica Mogerini, and Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Dimitris Avramopoulos on the shipwreck off the coast of Libya. (Image above: illustration).

“Our EU Delegation is in contact with the Libyan authorities, UN agencies and the NGOs to make sure that those rescued and disembarked receive protection and direct emergency assistance” the statement continues.

“Ensuring adequate search and rescue capacity, providing safe and dignified alternatives to dangerous sea-crossings to EU in the form of resettlements and voluntary returns out of Libya are essential to prevent further losses of lives and must be accelerated. At the same time, predictable and sustainable solutions for search and rescue are urgently needed in the Mediterranean”, the EU top executives said.

However the current situation in Libya is the direct result of the “Operation Freedom Falcon” led by  NATO armed forces, conducting in March 2011 the overthrowing of the four decades ruler Colonel Gaddafi. The assassination of Gaddafi degenerated  the statehood,  fueled the protracted conflict, and  threw nation into chaos.

A big round of applause for Obama, Hillary, McCain, Cameron and Sarkozy for plunging Libya into chaos and turning a once prosperous and stable country into a human trafficking hub and war-torn failed state where roving terrorists operate open air slave markets” wrote in her Twitter micro blog Sarah Abdallah, an ndependent Lebanese geopolitical commentator.

 

Mogherini “shocked” by Tajoura attack

The shocking attack on the Tajoura detention centre that caused the death of dozens of refugees and migrants and injured many more, including children and women, is a stark reminder of how the war in Libya is affecting civilians. We condemn it in the strongest terms. All violence against civilians is unacceptable. We welcome any fact finding mission undertaken by the UN and look forward to its results” says the text of the Declaration issued by the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini on behalf of the bloc on the latest developments in Libya.

We call for an immediate de-escalation and for an end to the fighting, and we urge actors to refrain from the systematic use of incitement to violence and promptly return to the UN led mediation process. We reiterate that there can be no military solution to the crisis in Libya and we call on all UN Member States to fully respect their obligations to contribute to Libya’s peace and stability, prevent destabilizing arms shipments, safeguard Libya’s oil resources and protect its infrastructure in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The ongoing conflict is destabilising Libya and the entire region and has increased the risk of terrorism and of the tragic loss of human lives, also at sea.

“We fully support UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salamé in his efforts to restore confidence, achieve a cessation of hostilities, promote inclusive dialogue and create the conditions for the resumption of the UN led political process. It is indispensable to relaunch the UN led mediation process to promote an inclusive government representing all Libyans, prepare for credible parliamentary and presidential elections, ensure a fair and transparent distribution of national wealth and advance the reunification of all Libyan sovereign institutions.

We remind all Libyan parties and institutions of their responsibility to protect civilians, safeguard civilian infrastructure, allow full humanitarian access and ensure protection for humanitarian workers under International Humanitarian Law. The EU stands ready to urgently step up collective efforts to address the situation, and in particular, to improve protection and assistance to migrants and refugees. In this regard, we welcome the UNHCR and IOM work in Libya and reiterate our full support to their mission and activities.”

Tajoura held at least 600 migrants and refugees—including women and children. The airstrike that left scores dead, also left dozens injured. The casualty toll from an air strike on a detention camp for migrants near the Libyan capital Tripoli has climbed to 53 dead and 130 wounded, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

 

 

 

Florence African candidate Mayor

Antonella Bundu (49) – born in Florence to an Italian mother and a native of Sierra Leone father, she is the mayor candidate of the Florentine left-wing coalition that includes the lists Florence Open City, Italian Left and Power to People.

A civil rights activist, she has never been part of a political competition in Florence before. “My commitment was born in the popular neighborhoods of Liverpool in the late 1980, where I lived with my family and where riots broke out following the economic crisis and discrimination against blacks. There I began to actively participate in the political struggle, “she explains.

At the center of his commitment is the “struggle for an inclusive multicultural Italy, for the rights of women and migrants.

Bundu promises to undertake urgent policies to address the housing emergency for the most vulnerable communities in town. Among extraordinary measures to undertake, she intends to ask the prefect to suspend evictions for a year, apply an emergency program to purchase empty apartments at construction prices and block the sale of public real estate assets in favor of recovery and re-use policies for social housing and purposes. She is also convinced that homeless need a great deal of attention, offering them an opportunity to shelter in municipal residences, including address registration to open an access to the rights and services, starting from accommodation, to the basic income of citizenship and to an effective paths of integration.
If elected Bundu will also restructure mobility in Florence, improving public transport system.

Focusing on public housing and integrating the most vulnerable inhabitants of town, she is against the developed of a network of extra-luxury hotels or accommodations, attracting rich tourists, instead Bundu is eager to focus on defeating poverty, establishing multiculturalism and inclusion.

EU diplomats prepare for Global Compact for Migration

“I believe there are two mistakes we must not make when discussing the global compacts” the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, while addressing the plenary session of the European Parliament on the preparation of the Marrakech Intergovernmental Conference of 10-11 December on the UN Global Compact for Migration.

The first is to pretend there is a clash between our national interests and the idea of a global compact. The opposite is true. If our national interest is to govern migration – and I believe it is for all of us – to make it orderly, humane and sustainable, then the global compact is a powerful tool to serve our national interest” Mogherini continued.

“The second mistake would be to tackle migration as a fight between the North and the South of the world, the developed and the developing countries. Again, the opposite is true

The diplomat indicated that the most of the countries – for instance in Africa – are at the same time countries of “origin, of transit and of destination”. “We all share an interest to manage migration; we all have an interest in investing in sustainable development in the regions that need it the most; and we all have an interest in creating regular pathways for human mobility”,- Mogherini concluded, insisting there is no conflict between North-South, but common need to harness the problem in a unified manner.

However there is no unity among the EU members on the issue. The latest ‘no’ to the UN project came from the Slovak Parliament, and caused resignation of the Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak has decided to quit in protest to this decision to reject a UN pact on the treatment of migrants, his office said.

Lajcak was President of the United Nations General Assembly when the migration pact was adopted and had earlier threatened to quit if his country did not support it.

NB! Correction to the map: Croatia will not sign UN Global Compact for Migration, because the majority of lawmakers in the Parliament said that they would not support the Compact because it was “unclear and ambiguous“.

Nowadays there are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their country of birth. This figure is expected to grow for a number of reasons including  population growth, increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Critics claim that the non-binding document declares economic migration as a human right which means giving up a state’s sovereignty while supporters of the Compact claim that it will improve international management of migrant waves and strengthen the protection of human rights.

Portugal offers employment to illegal migrants

A group of illegal migrants rescued from the Mediterranean in July by NGO vessel Aquarius have been re-homed in Fundao, a small Portuguese town 260 km north of Lisbon. (Image above: illustration, Fundao region),

The group of 19 migrants from Eritrea, Nigeria, Yemen and Sudan arrived in town to receive integration course, including classes in Portuguese language, and necessary skills to enter labor market.

The arrival of this group of migrants is a result of Portugal’s commitment to solidarity and European cooperation on migrants,” the government statement said.

These days Portugal joined with Spain, France and Germany in offering shelter and future to 10 people from this week Aquarius arrival  with the 58 illegal migrants on board.

The Portuguese unemployment rate fell to 6.7 % in the second quarter of 2018, while youth unemployment rate of those aged 15 to 24 is estimated 19.4%.

 

EU expects Arab League aid in handling migration

On 19 September the heads of state or government met for an informal working dinner on migration in Salzburg, Austria. Leaders discussed the latest developments in this area. They took note that the number of irregular arrivals has been reduced and is now even lower than in the years before the crisis.

The heads of state or government also agreed to strengthen cooperation with third countries, including Egypt.

Together with chancellor Kurz we have started a dialogue with the Egyptian President and now we can say that there is a backing from the European Council for this and similar dialogues” said president of the EU Council Donald Tusk, who will meet President Al Sisi in September to take the cooperation forward. In this context, the leaders also agreed to organise a summit with the League of Arab States in February 2019.

 

EU and Germany help Niger to cope with migrant flows

The European Union, through the EU Trust Fund for Africa, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) co-finance a project in Niger which helps local authorities identify development and infrastructure measures and strengthen their capacity to better address the consequences of migration. More than 150 000 people will benefit from better access to basic services which will also create 1 500 jobs.

Launched in 2017, with a budget of EUR 28.5 million, the project “Programme: Améliorer la gestion des défis migratoires” (ProGEM) has been cooperating with 20 local authorities along the main migratory routes.

The city of Agadez is a transit route for passing migrants and hosts at the same time young Nigeriens who are looking for a job as well as returning migrants from countries such as Algeria or Libya. More than 300,000 people pass through Agadez every year.

There are considerable social, economic and administrative challenges. According to the vice-president of Agadez Regional Council, Aklou Sidi Sidi, “the demand for water, medical care, education and sanitation is high and continuing to rise. This is one of the main consequences of the migration we are faced with here in Agadez, in the north of the country”. Unemployment drives young Nigeriens to migrate or get involved in smuggling activities. “The key is economic development and job creation in our towns”, Mr Aklou stresses.

“ProGEM is always there to help. It helps us develop our own expertise and draw up and implement appropriate measures, both social and in terms of infrastructure”, says Mr Alhousseini Hamodi, the mayor of Tchintabaraden district.

Thanks to ProGEM the municipality could identify the most affected areas. And the project is currently building and extending 10 healthcare centres and hospitals, 10 drinking water supply systems and standpipe networks, 5 markets and commercial infrastructures, 15 toilet blocks and 11 classrooms in the regions of Agadez, Tahoua and Zinder.

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