UNHCR Calls For Action Against Xenophobic Attacks In South Africa

Angry protestors in the Soweto area of Johannesburg killed four people, allegedly for stealing local jobs, according to media reports.

map_south-africa
Map of South Africa

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.

Migrants Photo Courtesy of Guy Oliver
Migrants Photo Courtesy of Guy Oliver of IRIN

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.

UN News Service

Liberian “Economic Migrants” Return From Niger

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.

By Tepitapia Sannah In Monrovia

West African Journal

US To End DED Protection For Liberians

US President Donald Trump is directing his Departments of State and Homeland Security to end to a humanitarian program that allowed thousands of Liberians in the United States to reside temporarily.

The Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians which expires Friday was last extended by President Obama.

But now Trump is ordering a final one more year extension following which it will be ended for good.

Liberians and some lawmakers in the US had been campaigning for another extension.

It is unclear what effort was exerted by the new Weah Administration to influence the Trump administration.

Some Liberians in the US expressed great disappointment and also directed their anger at the Liberian government for the lack of engagement to persuade the US to grant them permanent residency.

The exact number of Liberians affected is unknown. Some estimates put the number at 4,000 while others say the number is higher.

Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

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

 

Gambian Migrants Voluntarily Return Home

Gambia’s Minister of the Interior says about 165 nationals have voluntarily returned home from the north African nation of Libya.

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Map of Gambia

Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty  disclosed that the batch of Gambians returned home on Thursday.

Gambian returnees now total 1,467, the Interior Minister said.

Earlier this year, another group of Gambian migrants returned home.

Scores of  Gambians often leave home to attempt the perilous journey to Europe and other parts of the world because of tough economic conditions back home.

Help is being provided to resettle and re-integrate the returnees, the Interior Minister said.

Africanews. reports that the Gambian government, has, meantime, has entered a deal with the European Union in the area of irregular migration. Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty signed the 3.9m euro deal on behalf of the government.

Source: Africanews.