UNHCR: Libyan Transit Points To Deter Risky Migrants Crossings

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.

UNHCR Roberto Mignone
UNHCR Roberto Mignone

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.

Political Map of Libya
Political Map of Libya

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

 

 

Italy Holds Funeral For 26 Nigerian Women Drowned In Mediterranean

A Roman Catholic bishop and a Muslim imam both said prayers at the simple ceremony in the southern city of Salerno, with 26 wooden coffins laid out on a stone dais. A single white rose was placed on the lid of each.

“It is very likely that these girls were victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation,” said Federico Soda, director UN migration agency IOM for the Mediterranean.

A recent IOM report had estimated that 80 percent of Nigerian girls arriving in Italy by sea might be trafficking victims.

The 26 bodies were retrieved from the sea on Nov. 3 by a Spanish rescue ship, while some 64 people were unaccounted for and feared lost, bringing the total dead to around 90, said Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesman.

Survivors found on nearby rubber boats said the women were all Nigerian and had left Libya hoping to make it to Italy.

The only two identified were named as Marian Shaka, who was married, and Osato Osaro. Both were pregnant. Some of those who died were believed to have been as young as 14.

Map of Italy
Map of Italy

Almost 115,000 migrants, mainly African men, have reached Italy so far this year, according to government data released on Friday, against just over 167,000 in the same period last year.

IOM said at least 2,925 people died trying to cross the Mediterranean from Jan 1.-Nov. 5 against 4,302 last year.

The Italian government has worked with Libyan authorities to block migrants from leaving the north African state, leading to a sharp fall in new arrivals since the summer.

The government says its policy has cut the number of sea deaths, while critics say it has left thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in appalling conditions in Libya.

AP

Photos: Angela Caponetto/AFP

Tragedy: Bodies of 26 Nigeria Women Pulled From Mediterranean Sea

ROME — In a rather tragic circumstance, it is being reported that the bodies of 26 young Nigerian women and girls have been retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend and taken to Italy.

Map of Italy
Map of Italy

According to the New York Times , officials have launched an investigation into how the young Nigerian women died.

A official in the port city of Salerno says, “It is a tragedy for mankind.” He says local prosecutors will start work quickly to determine if the deaths were homicides. The bodies of the deceased and nearly 400 migrants who were also rescued from the Mediterranean Sea were taken to Salerno.

Marco Rotunno, the communications officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy estimates that the young women were between the ages of 14 and 18.

Migrants
Migrants

According to the New York Times report, the bodies were found floating in the water by the Spanish Navy on Nov. 3, and survivors on nearby rubber dinghies, which had partly capsized, told the authorities that they were Nigerian and had departed from Libya.

No one has claimed any of the bodies and it is still unknown if any of the surviving migrants are related.

Hundreds of Africans make the perilous journey through north Africa, especially Libya, to Europe in search of a better life. European navy officials say they have seen an increase in migrants in the last few years but with tragic results too.

Meantime, latest reports now say 2 arrests have been made. Al Mabrouc Wisam Harar from Libya and Mohammed Ali Al Bouzid from Egypt were arrested later on Tuesday.

The were captains of the boat on which the nearly 400 migrants were crammed.

West African Journal and Wires Services