Tag Archives: illegal migration

Libya: dozens killed in Murzuq airstrike

More than 30 individuals have been killed in an air strike on the southern Libyan oasis town of Murzuq in the historic region of Fezzan, populated mostly by Dawada people, but also by Tuareg. (Image above: illustration).

Eastern Libyan (historicaly region of Cirenaica) forces under the leadership  of Marshall Khalifa Haftar confirmed an assault on August 4, but denied any responsibility for the death of civilians.

Despite expected movement  for unity among the Tuareg and other southern Libyan minorities, at present the situation in Fezzan  stays fragile, and the future of the province remains obscure.

In reality Fezzan is unstable in absence of unity among Tuareg communities vis-à-vis the events in TripoliThe Tuareg are hugely disappointed with the results of the regime change, which did not fulfill any from the multiple promises made by the West.

Population of Fezzan is plagued by lack of basic healthcare, access to water, education and jobs – all resulting in low living standards, depression and crime. The infrastructures, including developed by state electric grids erected during Colonel Gaddafi rule, have dilapidated without maintenance, and are out of use, and there no opportunities to restore them until the conflict is ravaging Libya.
Many men left Fezzan to join different battling militant groups in search for earnings.

Both Fayez Al Sarraj in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi are struggling  for alliance with different tribes in Fezzan: Tuareg and Toubou (Teda and Dazagra). 

Like the supported by the West government of  Al-Sarraj, Haftar has equally alliances among Tuareg, multiplying promises.

For Europe significance of Fezzan has risen dramatically  after  Libyan state collapse, which left southern borders unattended, and opened a broad gate for illegal migration from from the Sahel to Mediterranean coast – the so called sub-Saharan migrant route.

AMENDED:

“Indiscriminate attacks on densely populated residential areas may amount to war crimes and must cease immediately. As High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini stated on behalf of the EU on 2 August, those committing war crimes and those breaching International Humanitarian Law must be brought to justice and held to account” the European External Action Service reacted on Murzuq attack on its official Twitter account.

Pope Francis calls to assist migrants

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the VI anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa on July 8, a small Italian island 90 miles off the coast of Tunisia.

Pontifex called for an end to the rhetoric which views migrants as ‘other,’ saying they are human beings and among those Christ has commanded his disciples to love and assist.

“They are persons; these are not mere social or migrant issues!Pope continued “This is not just about migrants,’ in the twofold sense that migrants are first of all human persons, and that they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society.”

These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,Pope stated.

“In the spirit of the Beatitudes we are called to comfort them in their affliction and offer them mercy,” he urged, “to sate their hunger and thirst for justice; to let them experience God’s caring fatherliness; to show them the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

At present the numbers of Christians in Africa are at rise, by 2025, one-sixth – 230 million of the world’s Catholics are expected to be Africans. Half of the African population lives in poverty without access to basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, shelter and more.

While Africa is globally the poorest continent, it is also home to the highest birth rate: by 2050, a quarter of the world will be African, with the continent’s population likely to rise from 1.2-billion today to 2.5-billion in 2050.

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

Marrakesh: leaders sign Global Compact

Speaking at the start of the UN conference in Marrakesh where  states gather to adopt the so-called Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Secretary General Antonio Guterres promoted the initiative, insisting developed countries needed more migration due to their declining birth rates and aging populations.

In July all 193 UN members except the United States concluded the non-binding pact of a highly political nature. But since then, the text has come under scrutiny from right-wing European politicians who are convinced it could lead to an increase in migration flows, and the courts would lose the tool to extradite the illegal migrants as the difference between legal and illegal migration would disappear.

At least six European Union members – mostly in Eastern Europe – have shunned the accord. On Sunday, hours ahead of the conference, Chile was the latest country to pull out, while Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel faced collapse of the governing coalition, with resignation of his ministers.

Although depicted as an achievement, the Declaration continues to provoke criticism over its ambiguity not only from right-wing, but also from center right. The European Parliament did not adopt the Resolution of Global Compact in November plenary, the failure regarded as a blow to the image of the initiative. Subsequently the European Parliament delegation had a humble presence.

In spite of the ambivalence, and criticism the signature of Global Compact is a huge step forward to eliminate the concept of ‘illegal migrants’, and create a world without borders.

 

 

EU stands for “equal” partnerships with Africa

Today in Brussels at the European Council  the EU leaders will discuss the issue of migration  There will be a report on progress, as agreed in the June European Council conclusions.

While considering all elements and taking a comprehensive approach to migration, the leaders are expected to focus particularly on three aspects in their discussions:

  • cooperation with countries of origin and transit
  • the fight against people smuggling networks
  • the recent Commission proposals on returns, the Asylum Agency and the European Border and Coast Guard

The conclusions will also take into account the discussion already held at the informal leaders’ meeting in Salzburg on 20 September. The Austrian Chancellor is also expected to report on the reform of the Common European Asylum System and the prospects for progress on its various elements, also following the discussion held in the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 11-12 October.

“In the debate on migration, this has been a dead end in the conflict over quotas for many years. We now want to go the path of solidarity instead of obligatory quotas, where everyone contributes where they can. This is a very capable access” Austrian Cancellor Kurz said in his doorstep remarks.

There is still considerable pressure from the behalf of the Mediterranean flooded with migrants states to relocate them  along all EU members, and reform the Dublin regulation, imposing all responsibility onto the first receiving state.

However the consequent refusal of a number of the EU states to accept migrants should be compensated by the governments by allocation of  funds to share the burden to some extend.

While addressing migration issues the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini (pictured) called for “new equal political  partnership” with Africa.

 

 

 

EU top diplomats focus on Libya

“First of all, we will hold a discussion on Libya. I just met with the UN Special Envoy [for Libya, Ghassan] Salamé in Brussels a couple of days ago, and I will report to the Ministers about the state of play in Tripoli, in Libya”, said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini upon her arrival to the Council for EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

The European Union will search for the ways to reinforce the  support to the United Nations, both in political process, but also on economic reforms and on security arrangements.

There will  be separate discussion on the external work on illegal migration together with the UN Refugee Agency and of the  International Organisation for Migration IOM, headed by the newly elected IOM Director General António Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira, who will  join ministers by video conference from Geneva. While Filippo Grandi will arrive to Luxembourg meeting.

“We will focus on the different strands of work we have been putting in place, also in view of the European Council that is meeting in Brussels later this week. We will prepare the ground for the Prime Ministers and Heads of States to review the work we are doing and indicate where Member States are ready to do more, in which fields of action, on the external side of migration” Mogherini underlined.

Central African Republic (CAR) will be the other point of agenda, assessing the possible ways for aid to the country in ‘difficult conditions”, the diplomat underlined.

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%.

 

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