Angry protestors in the Soweto area of Johannesburg killed four people, allegedly for stealing local jobs, according to media reports.
Many others, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have been affected by earlier rounds of violence, while tension has also been observed in KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape provinces.
In a statement, the “UNHCR is calling on the authorities to ensure that those responsible for acts of violence and violations of human rights are brought to account. We urge all possible efforts to avert future attacks, including incitement or attempts to block peaceful solutions. If unchecked, such xenophobic attacks could lead to further damage and destruction,” agency spokesperson Charlie Yaxley told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday.
UNHCR is supporting government efforts to assist people who have been displaced or who were affected by displacement.
Mr. Yaxley reported that staff have visited refugees and asylum-seekers affected by the recent violence in Soweto to assess their situation and needs.
“Many foreign shop owners have been affected by the violence and their small shops – often their only means of livelihoods – have been looted and destroyed,” he added.
Just over 280,000 refugees and asylum-seekers are currently living in South Africa, according to UNHCR data.
The UN agency has welcomed public expressions of support from many citizens there who have been calling for peaceful coexistence and harmony with foreign nationals in the country.
The debate around immigration has intensified the past few years on the Western Hemisphere.
South African Refugees photo courtesy of CFR
In fact, it has become a prominent conversation that has seen the rise of far-right politicians who owe their success to anti-immigration populism.
Migration is not a new phenomenon.
For as long as the world has existed, beings have been moving around. The current conversations around migration are not much about the fact that people move but more about the fact that poor and vulnerable citizens of developing countries are migrating to so-called rich nations in search of safety, security, and prosperity.
From Syrian refugees that are escaping a bloody civil war and are stranded at the gates of Europe, to African migrants that die by thousands in the Mediterranean in their attempt to reach the “colonizer’s land” to the Latin American migrants that are arrested and separated from their children at the border of the United States and Mexico, sad and disheartening are the stories of migration that have dominated mainstream and social media the past months.
Illustration – courtesy of UC Davis Poverty Center
Amid such devastating news that make one regret belonging to this antipathic generation, very little is said about the millions of people who migrate within their continent and region. In Africa for instance, 92% of migrants go to another African nation. The remaining 8% are divided among other continents with less than 3% making it or attempt to make it to Europe.
The “conflict-torn and property wretched continent “ whose people despite all the past decades of imperialist attacks and pillage have demonstrated an unparalleled form of resilience and are still progressing economically at a faster rate than any other continent in the world has been welcoming far more immigrants from Asia and Europe than it is sending out.
It is understandable that western nations reject taking their share of the blame when it comes to exploiting other nations, causing and feeding conflicts that leave millions of people displaced and puts their lives in jeopardy. Nonetheless, the hypocrisy of the West lays in the argument of the fascists and the racists who claim vehemently that they are being invaded by other races and soon enough, they will lose their identity.
Poverty Map of Africa photo – courtesy of Behance
First of all, culture and identity are dynamic. The French culture today was not the same a century ago and the American one wasn’t the same half a century ago. No one can stop identities from changing and drastic immigration policies motivated by the fear of the unknown and hatred toward the most vulnerable and the poor will not save the West from losing its contemporary identity which in a few decades or centuries might look gregarious to the future occupants of this planet.
The West does not have anything against migrants but it has everything against poor people.
The American President Trump made it clear that their country wouldn’t mind receiving Norwegian migrants and when a former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy talked about “immigration choisie”, their selective immigration process is a way of ensuring that the most educated and the wealthiest migrate to their countries.
The West has always felt insecure and constantly leaves in paranoia. This paranoia has caused humanity two world wars that left millions of people dead. The insecurity of the West pushes it to constantly see a threat in whatever people or nations they are unable to profit from beyond exploiting them physically, economically and politically.
There is this attitude that is intrinsic to western nations which makes them constantly see others as foes they do not just need to compete with but must dominate and control. As a result, they are always seeking to grow their economic, military and political power.
And the poor, undereducated and unskilled migrants are not the kind of people they foresee can help them achieve that. Rather, they see them as a liability and the very selfish and parasitic West that has stolen from every single continent cannot afford to share the massive wealth it has acquired at the expense of billions of people’s dignity whose very existence is threatened by poverty, climate change, terrorism, civil wars all of whom are the direct consequences of the West’s insatiable imperialist conquests and selfish neoliberal politics.
African migrants- courtesy of the Citizen
The media which is the most effective brainwashing tool used by populists to indoctrinate their ignoramus citizens have played a role in depicting migration as a new phenomenon that will eventually lead to the destruction and the fall of the West. A destruction that failed to occur when the same western nations were butchering millions of Africans, Asians, Native Indians for many centuries.
The one thing that the West can never claim as its invention is migration and nothing can the Europeans and their American cousins do to stop it. The exhibition of inhumanity Western governments are getting better and better at will only further alienate them from the rest of the world. A world that they need more than anyone else.
When you are born on a land as dry as Europe, you can’t afford arrogance because everything you own, and use was produced from the resources of other continents. And the sooner the West sucks in its belligerent pride, the better for them because it has more to lose from that hatred than the world has to gain.
Author: Farida Bemba Nabourema is a Togolese human rights and political activist.
A federal jury in Philadelphia has brought down a guilty verdict in the U.S. government trial of former rebel spokesman and defense Minister of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu. He was convicted on Tuesday of 11 counts of immigration fraud, making false statements and perjury.
The guilty verdict marked the end of another attempt to hold former war actors and human rights violators in Liberia accountable for their actions during the country’s horrendous civil way. Another notorious war actor Mohammed Jabbateh who went by the nom-de guerre “Jungle Jabbah” was convicted at a trial in April in Philadelphia and sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
NPFL leader and former Liberian President Charles Taylor was prosecuted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone and found guilty and sentenced in 2012 to 50 years in prison. Today, he sits in a jail in the UK serving his sentence.
His ex-wife Agnes was picked up by British authorities in June, 2017 and accused of committing the offences between 1989 and 1991. She has denied all the charges. Her trial is set for October.
Woewiyu, a close associate of former Liberia President Charles Taylor was a founding member of the NPFL rebel outfit that attacked the West African nation in December, 1989 in an attempt to dislodge former President Samuel K. Doe. The rebel group waged a merciless campaign of death, destruction, looting and displacement of nearly a million people internally and externally.
The former rebel official had resided in the U.S. since 1972 but traveled back and forth to Liberia as the NPFL waged its murderous campaign. He attempted to apply for U.S. citizen in 2006 but was denied based on information obtained by U.S. authorities that he was a member of the NPFL; information which he did not initially disclose on his citizenship application.
The 12 person jury deliberated fro about 8 hours before arriving at their guilty verdict. He was found not guilty of 5 of the 16 counts in the indictment. Woewiyu who will be sentenced on October 15th is facing significant jail time which in effect may amount to a life sentence. He is 73 years old.
Pressure is mounting on the new administration in Liberia to bring to trial, those named in the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as bearing the greatest responsibility for alleged human rights and economic crimes in the country. The seven month Weah Administration has signaled that prosecution of alleged war criminals is not a priority.
International investigators say they will not relent in pursuing warlords across the globe and where ever they are found. According to a source, a major target is a former warlord and now a Senator in the Liberia government Mr. Prince Y. Johnson who is responsible for the capture, torture, death and mutilation of former President Samuel K. Doe in September, 1990. Johnson is alleged to have summarily executed hundreds of innocent civilians in areas under his control during the war.
An estimated 250,000 persons died in the Liberia war.
Monrovia, Liberia: About 166 Liberian migrants who had been stranded in Niger for months arrived home Thursday after their repatriation was facilitated by Niamey and supervised by the UN migration agency, IOM.
ECOWAS radio in the Liberian capital reported that the
Liberians arrived at the Roberts International Airport ((RIA) onboard a flight chartered by the government in Niamey.
They were screened jointly by officials of the Liberia immigration service and the Liberia refugee agency, LRRRC, before being taken to a safe location for re- unification with their families and relatives.
Most of the returnees appeared to be economic migrants in search of “greener pastures” like other African migrants who journeyed via North Africa, but their hopes more often were dashed.
In a separate development, police authorities this week reported hauling some 700 kilos of illicit drugs in a swoop on the Monrovia Central prison and others here.
Inmates claimed the drugs entered; thanks to visitors frequenting the over crowded prison daily.
Our Monrovia correspondent quoting Police said one senior prison warden was arrested in connection with illegal
Infiltration at South beach prison, built in the 60s to accommodate 300 inmates, but now holds more than one thousand pretrial detainees and convicts.
Hard core drugs consumption is pervasive throughout Liberia with communities in Monrovia competing for first place in proliferation of ghettos for substance users.
Smoking in public places is banned in Liberia, but distraught youngsters provokingly roam streets including Broad street puffing fumes of illicit drugs, which police say, embolden them to prey on unsuspecting persons.
The son of Guinea’s first president and his wife face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty in Texas of holding a young woman as a domestic slave.
Denise Cros Toure and Mohammed Toure
The AFP quoting US Justice Department officials say Mohamed Toure, 57, and Denise Cros-Toure, 57, appeared in a federal court in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday to face a criminal complaint of forced labor.
Toure is the son of Ahmed Sekou Toure, the first president of the west African coastal nation of Guinea. He was Guinea’s leader from 1958 until his death in 1984.
The couple arranged for the unnamed victim, who spoke no English, to travel alone from her village in Guinea to work at their home in Southlake, Texas, in January 2000.
“The victim’s Guinean passport indicated that she was five years old at the time,” the statement read.
“Throughout the years, until the victim escaped in August 2016, the defendants forced the victim to labor in their home for long hours without pay.”
The young woman was required “to cook, clean, do the laundry, perform yardwork, and paint,” as well as care for the couple’s five children.
Even though the victim was close in age to the children, “the defendants denied her access to schooling and the other opportunities afforded to their children.”
The couple allegedly took the victim’s passport “and caused her to remain unlawfully in the United States after her visa expired,” isolated her from her family, “and emotionally and physically abused her.”
The victim eventually with help from some former neighbours in August 2016, the statement reads.
An attorney for the couple, Scott Palmer, fiercely denied the allegations in an email to The Washington Post.
“The complaint is riddled with salacious allegations, fabrications, and lies,” Palmer told The Post.
He said the couple were looking forward “to revealing the motivation of this woman to lie, betray, and attempt to destroy the family that took her in at the request of her father.”
Liberia – TRC Full ReportThe new Weah administration in Liberia has been put on official notice by a representative of the United Nations regarding the implementation of recommendations of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
Addressing a National Peace Conference in the capital Monrovia on Thursday, the Deputy UN Chief said, “…It is also critical to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation, and for the legislature to pass key bills that will support local inclusion and reconciliation.. These would be timely measures that would assure Liberians that there is strong resolve to see a conclusion to the process…”
Madam Amina Mohammed who is visiting Liberia as representative of the UN to participate in the official end of the UN Mission in the West African country told the conference that, “…To ensure reconciliation and a peaceful and prosperous future, it will be crucial to deepen efforts to address the underlying causes of conflict in Liberia” adding that ” Prevention is critical in averting a relapse into violence.”
The country was plunged into one of modern day’s most brutal armed conflict beginning December, 1989 with a rebel invasion led by now convicted former President Charles Taylor.
An estimated 250,000 people died and another 1.5 million others were internally and externally dislocated. Neighboring counties also saw a spill-over of the Liberian armed strife on to their territories. Thousands others were maimed, raped and mutilated by bands of militias.
Following peace talks and cessation of hostilities among warring parties in Liberia, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) was set up after UN Security Council Resolution 1509 passed on September 19, 2003.
The UNMIL office was charged with supporting the implementation of the cease-fire agreement and the peace process; protecting United Nations staff, facilities and civilians; supporting humanitarian and human rights activities; as well as assist in national security reform, including national police training and formation of a new, restructured military.
With the gradual consolidation of peace, global body, in 2015, ordered the phased drawn down of peacekeepers. Initial troop strength was 15,000. Total UNMIL fatalities in the Liberian theater was 202 peacekeepers.
UNMIL formally ends its mission on March 30, 2018.
In its final report, the country’s TRC recommended the following leaders of warring factions for prosecution for human rights violations, including violations of international humanitarian laws, war crimes and egregious domestic laws of Liberia and economic crimes:
Charles Taylor – NPFL
Prince Y. Johnson – INPFL
*Roosevelt Johnson – ULIMO – J
Alhaji G. V. Kromah – ULIMO – K
George Boley – LPC
Thomas Yahya Nimley – MODEL
Sekou Damate Konneh – LURD
*Francois Masssaquoi – LDF
War lords Roosevelt Johnson and Francois Massaquoi are deceased. LPC militia leader George Boley was picked up by the Federal U.S. authorities in 2010 on immigration charges and subsequently deported to Liberia.
Several alleged human rights violators from the Liberian war have been identified and are facing prosecution in the US and Europe.
Emmanuel “Chuckie” Taylor, son of former President Charles Taylor – sentenced to 97 years in prison in January, 2009 in a major torture case that grew out of a US investigation into arms trafficking in Liberia.
Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu – a former Defense Chief and spokesperson for Taylor’s rebel faction and legislator in Liberia. He was picked up in Philadelphia in 2014 and is facing immigration fraud charges. Trial is pending.
Agnes Reeves Taylor– ex wife of former President Taylor was arrested in June, 2017 in the UK and accused of torture and war crime offenses and goes to trial in October, 2018.
Martina Johnson – a former commander in Taylor’s rebel militia who was arrested in Belgium in 2012 and is awaiting prosecution.
Colonel Moses Thomas – a former Presidential guard commander who has had civil suit brought against him in Philadelphia by survivors of a church massacre in 1990 in Liberia.
Alieu Kosiah – a ULIMO rebel commander/ fighter who was arrested in Switzerland in 2014 and accused of war atrocities. He prosecution is pending
Isaac Kannah– charged in an October 2012 indictment with perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in deportation proceedings of George Boley. He was arrested on January 10, 2017, by Immigration and Homeland Security in Philadelphia.
Mohammed “Jungle Jabbah” Jabbateh – former Liberian rebel fighter convicted of immigration charges in October, 2018 in Philadelphia and accused of horrific crimes during the war.
An international investigator based in Washington DC says they are pursuing other alleged perpetrators around the world for arrest and prosecution.
Among several recommendations advanced in the 370 page TRC report, several Liberians associated with warring faction leaders, their leaders, political decision makers, financiers , organizers, commanders and foot soldiers were recommended for public sanctions.
These individuals were to be barred from holding public office; elected or appointed for a period of thirty (30) years when the TRC Final Report was issued in June, 2009.
Allen Brown Sr.
Toga McIntosh Gayewea
Jackson E. Doe
D. Bob Taylor
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
J. Apollo Swen
Mr. Gayewea is a senior adviser to current President George Weah. Mr. Nyenabo was appointed by former President Johnson Sirleaf in February, 2015 as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary accredited to the Kingdom of Belgium with accreditations to the European Union, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Associate Justice Ja’neh currently serves on Liberia’s highest court, the Supreme Court.
A current and close advisor in the orbit of President George Weah is Liberian businessman Mr. Emmanuel Shaw who was named in the TRC Report for further investigation.
Also listed for investigation is the current Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations Mr. Lewis G. Brown. Both men are associated with convicted warlord and former President Charles Taylor.
A prominent Taylor associate and militia combatant during the civil war Robert R. G. Bright was this week appointed by President Weah as a Cabinet level Economic Advisor.
A prominent international war and economic crime investigator and source says they are concerned about the resurfacing of Taylor associates in the Weah Administration and want to know whether Taylor is still involved in the Liberian political theater.
An ex-wife of Taylor is the current Vice President of Liberia. Madam Jewel Howard Taylor was hand picked by President Weah as his running mate in the 2018 Presidential election. Although President Weah has denied any on-going communication with Taylor, observers says they are puzzled by the stocking of the Weah Administration with Taylor linkages.
A diplomatic source says international partners have privately warned President Weah about any connections he may be entertaining with Taylor.
Diplomatic and international pressure are being ramped up on the new Weah Administration to be decisive and commit to implementing the TRC recommendations.
The Sirleaf Administration and prior Legislature failed to implement the recommendations, citing risk to national cohesion following years of back to back wars. Observers and activists , however, say, failure to fully implement the recommendations is not an option since they represent the only sure way of holding war perpetrators accountable for their roles and genuine reconciliation.
A former warlord and from the northeastern political sub-division of Nimba County Prince Johnson is a sitting legislator who has vowed to resist any attempt to prosecute him for alleged war crimes. Johnson who led the erstwhile rebel militia known as the Independent National Patriotic Front (INPFL) is responsible for the capture, torture of former Liberian President Samuel K. Doe and civilians in September, 1990 at the height of the conflict.
Main rebel leader Charles Taylor who won controversial Presidential elections served between 1997 – 2003 but was forced to step down from office by sustained rebel attacks and international pressure. He fled to Nigeria under a brokered deal but was eventually indicted by the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Nigeria, under pressure from the U.S., agreed to turn Taylor over to the Court.
He was subsequently arrested and tried in Netherlands and convicted of ” aiding and abetting, as well as planning, some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history” and sentenced in May, 2012 to fifty years in jail.
Taylor who is serving his sentence at a UK facility, may die in prison due to his age and length of the sentence.
In 2017, the former head of Liberia’s TRC and human rights lawyer Counselor Jerome Verdier, who fled Liberia for fear of his life, after issuance of the TRC Final Report released a statement in which he said, “…We are glad that the international arrests, detentions, deportations and travels ban of these war and economic crimes perpetrators will continue until they are eventually prosecuted for their heinous and egregious crimes against human kind. There will be no hiding place. Not anymore..”
President Weah has not indicated if he will fully implement the TRC recommendations.
The UN office responsible to catering to world refugees says there is a huge funding gap for its West Africa operations.
According to its 2018 Funding update issued on Tuesday, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) disclosed that of its target of $289.1 million dollars, it has received only $19.4 million representing only 7 percent of its overall target.
The funding gap is $269.6 million for its West Africa sub-regional offices:
Burkina Faso – 8% funded. Gap is $22.9 million
Cote d’Ivoire – 7% funded. Gap is $14.8 million
Ghana – No funding. Gap is $8.1 million
Guinea – No funding. Gap is $653,401
Liberia – No funding. Gap is $11.6 million
Mali – 7% funded. Gap is $19.8 million
Niger – 8% funded. Gap is $79.9 million
Nigeria – No funding. Gap is $80.3 million and
Senegal Regional Office – minor funding. Funding gap – $39.1 million
Germany, the European Union, Italy, Sweden, UN Peacebuilding Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNESCO and private donors in Italy made restricted contributions with Germany making the bulk of the contribution – $1.9 million dollars.
Their combined contributions to West Africa refugee assistance totaled $19.4 million.
Other international major donors who made un-restricted and regional funding include:
Sweden – $98 million
Norway – $43 million
Netherlands -$39 million
United Kingdom – $32 million
Denmark – $25 million
Australia – $19 million and
Switzerland – $15 million
Another 26 donors, including the only African country of Algeria, also made un-restricted and regional funding to the mission of the UNHCR in West Africa.
Food insecurity, migration from conflict hot areas including some early instances of climate change are forcing people into long term refugee situations in the African sub-regional which could be further destabilized unless adequate funding is secured. Donor fatigue and internal economic pressures on donor countries are challenging the ability of the UN to easily raise the needed funds to provide assistance for refugees.
One major donor missing from the UNHCR latest update is the United States.
The UNHCR, which was founded in 1950, works to protect and assist refugees around the world.
In a separate development, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released their Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Bulletin for the period between January 29 – February 4, 2018 .
According to the bulletin, a total of 274 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases was made with 31 deaths.
Of this number, Nimba County in northeastern Liberia is reported to have a measles outbreak with 202 suspected cases with the next highest occurrence of 58 in Montserrado County, the seat of the capital.
Eight maternal deaths were reported from Bong (2), Montserrado (2), Maryland (1), Nimba (1), Margibi (1) and River Gee (1) Counties.
Reported causes of death were: Postpartum hemorrhage (3), Eclampsia (1), Abrutio placenta (1), Sepsis (1), Pulmonary embolism (1) and Cardiac pulmonary arrest (1)
All eight deaths was reported to have occurred in the health facility.
Of the recent meningococcal outbreak in the West African country, all contacts remain in medical surveillance.
The Eurasia Group has released its 2018 Top Risks Group which includes Africa. The following is an in-depth analysis for Africa.
THE “AFRICA RISING” NARRATIVE REMAINS APPEALING, but this year will face a new challenge. The continent’s core countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, among others) have recently demonstrated robust investment climates, and they’ve been generally sealed off from the troubles of the “periphery” (Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, etc.). But in 2018, negative spillover from Africa’s unstable periphery will increasingly spoil the continent’s success stories.
The threat lies in security risks: militancy and terrorism. The dangers posed by Al Shabaab in East Africa and Al Qaeda in West Africa are not new, but they’re set to intensify. Despite losing territory in 2017, Al Shabaab is still carrying out successful one-off surprise attacks and will look to more international targets in 2018. The Islamic State is likely to increase activity in West Africa and expand into East Africa as it is pushed from traditional strongholds in the Middle East.
Countries targeted by militancy and terrorism are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to provide unified support.
Target countries are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to mount a united front of support. Local actors in “core” countries are already suffering from weakened political capacity. Kenya’s government will focus on economic recovery after a prolonged election cycle. Nigeria enters an election season with uncertainty over its current leader’s health. South Africa faces internal political strife. Angola is busy with a fresh leadership transition. Mozambique is still struggling with a years-long debt scandal.
Foreign partners who have helped stabilize weak governments in the past are distracted. In the east, a preoccupied Europe has reduced its salary support for troops of the UN-mandated African Union Mission to Somalia operating in the Al Shabaab hotspot. Across the Sahel, the G5 counterterrorism partnership of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania plans to launch a 5,000-strong force in March 2018. But differences among France, the US, and UN officials will slow the necessary funding, leaving the region at risk, despite an injection of financial support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The growing fragility of Africa’s top performers has several implications. Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia face increased security costs at a time when their governments need to reduce spending. A spike in attacks would also undermine foreign investment perceptions already shaken by the election-related violence in Kenya, a growing social protest movement in Ethiopia, and presidential succession uncertainties in Nigeria and Uganda.
Foreign investors may see their assets directly targeted. Tourist and energy installations will be especially at risk. This will put downward pressure on FDI into the continent, leaving development reliant on limited local capital. And the pressure of security-related refugee flows—on countries in the region and in Europe—will not abate, creating a headache for policymakers on both sides of the Mediterranean.
About EURASIA GROUP:
According to its website, the Eurasia Group says it connects geopolitics and business to provide valuable strategic and operational insights. Its combination of strategy consulting methodologies, deep industry sector coverage, and best-in-class country expertise is applied to areas including:
Risk-adjusted market assessment, market prioritization, and market entry planning
Political risk assessment and messaging strategy
M&A macro risk due diligence
Enterprise risk management & process design support
Washington DC – USA: Nationals of the three African nations of Chad, Somalia and Libya will be facing even more difficulty entering the United States in line with a September Presidential proclamation of Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling issued on Monday, allowed the third version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to go into effect. The Justice Department argued that President Donald Trump had acted under his broad constitutional and statutory authority to control immigration to the country.
The three Muslim-majority African countries are included in nine countries named in the travel ban. Others are Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.
Legal challenges to the travel ban continue in the lower courts and the high court told the lower court to move swiftly to determine whether the latest ban was lawful. Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland had blocked portions of the travel ban saying that they were unconstitutional and geared towards religious discrimination.
In a rather perplexing reason for inclusion on the travel ban, the Guardian newspaper reports that one of the countries, Chad, ended up on the list of ban countries because it was unable to provide an updated passport sample requested by the U.S. Government.
The paper quoted Homeland Security officials as saying there were other reasons for the inclusion of Chad but that discussions were underway to resolve the issues.
Chad has been a major ally of the U.S. in the fight against extremists in Nigeria and Niger and parts of central Africa.
In the U.S. Presidential Proclamation on the three African countries, President Trump said in section (a) Chad:
(i) The government of Chad is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Chad has shown a clear willingness to improve in these areas. Nonetheless, Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion. Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. At this time, additional information sharing to identify those foreign nationals applying for visas or seeking entry into the United States who represent national security and public-safety threats is necessary given the significant terrorism-related risk from this country.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(i) The government of Libya is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding on that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Libya, nonetheless, faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States. Libya also has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols. Further, Libya fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The substantial terrorist presence within Libya’s territory amplifies the risks posed by the entry into the United States of its nationals.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
(i) The Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017, determined that Somalia satisfies the information-sharing requirements of the baseline described in section 1(c) of this proclamation. But several other considerations support imposing entry restrictions and limitations on Somalia. Somalia has significant identity-management deficiencies. For example, while Somalia issues an electronic passport, the United States and many other countries do not recognize it. A persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia’s territory. The United States Government has identified Somalia as a terrorist safe haven. Somalia stands apart from other countries in the degree to which its government lacks command and control of its territory, which greatly limits the effectiveness of its national capabilities in a variety of respects. Terrorists use under-governed areas in northern, central, and southern Somalia as safe havens from which to plan, facilitate, and conduct their operations. Somalia also remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States. The State Department’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism observed that Somalia has not sufficiently degraded the ability of terrorist groups to plan and mount attacks from its territory. Further, despite having made significant progress toward formally federating its member states, and its willingness to fight terrorism, Somalia continues to struggle to provide the governance needed to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate. The government of Somalia’s lack of territorial control also compromises Somalia’s ability, already limited because of poor recordkeeping, to share information about its nationals who pose criminal or terrorist risks. As a result of these and other factors, Somalia presents special concerns that distinguish it from other countries.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is hereby suspended. Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.
The U.S. Presidential Proclamation, under the waiver provision says:
A waiver may be granted only if a foreign national demonstrates to the consular officer’s or CBP official’s satisfaction that:
(A) denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
(B) entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
November 30, 2017 – The United Nations, through its refugee agency says it welcomes the decision by the Libyan authorities to set up a “transit and departure facility” in Tripoli for refugees and migrants in need of international protection – an initiative that offers viable alternatives to their dangerous journeys along the Central Mediterranean route.
According to Roberto Mignone at the Office the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Libya “We hope that thousands of the most vulnerable refugees currently in Libya will benefit from this forward-looking initiative,”
The UN News Center reports that the initiative, which is supported by the Italian Government, will facilitate the transfer of thousands of vulnerable refugees to third countries.
Mr. Mignone added that the main objective is to speed up the process of securing solutions in third countries, particularly for unaccompanied and separated children and women at risk. These solutions will include resettlement, family reunification, evacuation to UNHCR-run emergency facilities in other countries, or voluntary return.
At the facility, UNHCR staff and partners will provide registration and live-saving assistance such as accommodation, food, medical care and psychosocial support.
Meantime, an urgent evacuation plan has been drawn up at an African Union-European Union summit in Ivory Coast. According to the BBC, the African about 3,800 migrants will be returned to their countries, according to the plan.
Following international condemnation and outcry after the release of a video which purportedly showed African migrants being sold as slaves in Libya, the meeting of European and African leaders in Ivory Coast called for urgent help/
The UN-backed administration in Libya says it supports the agreement. However, with fractured political control, it remains to be seen how the agreement will be implemented.
Migrants from several African countries have been returned home in the last two months with help from the International Organization on Migration (IOM) and include, Gambia, Sierra Leon, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo. joined the agreement, but has only limited control over the territory, raising questions about how it will work in practice.
The French President at the European- African Summit called the slave auctions a “crime against humanity”.
African migrants are making the perilous crossing through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea on their journey to Europe for a better life.
West African Journal and International Wire Services