Monthly Archives: December 2016


Libyan authorities deported 157 illegal African migrants on Thursday.

The migrants are mostly from Mali and were hoping to make it to Europe via the Mediterranean. The deportations were organised in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration.

Libya’s illegal immigration office has been working with various embassies to arrange for the safe return of the migrants.

Last week authorities deported 140 migrants to Nigeria.

This month, the European Union and Mali signed an agreement under which Mali will get funds to help create jobs and strengthen border management in return for its help in fighting people smugglers and accepting deportees from Europe.


News in Brief 30 (AM)

More than one million people in northeast Nigeria receive food aid

The UN food agency, WFP, has delivered food or cash to more than a million Nigerians in conflict-affected zones in the Northeast since the beginning of December.

Over half of those in need of urgent humanitarian assistance have now been reached following the recent delivery of aid, the agency confirmed.

To achieve this, WFP has stepped up its response in Borno and Yobe States, where as many as four million people are food insecure.

The region has been devastated by years of violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency.

In order to reach areas that were previously inaccessible, WFP used helicopters to carry out airdrops and airlifts of humanitarian supplies.

Abdou Dieng, WFP’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said his office plans to do more.

However, he added, an operation of this scope and complexity requires sustained funding to maintain the momentum.

Over 1,000 demolitions recorded in the occupied Palestinian territory in 2016

More than 1,000 Palestinian-owned structures throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, were either demolished or seized in 2016, a recent UN study has revealed.

The overwhelming majority of structures were seized or destroyed because of a lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

The measure displaced more than 1,500 Palestinians and impacted the livelihoods of another 7,000.

Meanwhile, some 51,000 people are still displaced in the Gaza Strip after losing their homes in the 2014 conflict between Israel and Palestinian armed groups. The data also includes information about checkpoints and other barriers to freedom of movement, such as earth mounds, roadblocks, and road gates.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) began recording the information in 2009.

The aim of the study is to look at trends affecting the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.

UN experts condemn Ecuador for “stifling” civil society

The Government of Ecuador has been condemned by a group of UN experts for dissolving several human rights organisations in the country.

The government recently ordered the closure of a leading grassroots environmental group called ‘Accion Ecologica’.

On 18 December, the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called for a Peace and Truth Commission to investigate attacks on indigenous and environmental rights.

But two days later, Ecuador’s Environment Ministry, initiated the NGO’s dissolution process.

The group of independent UN human rights experts has already censured the government for the clampdown of groups such as the environmental NGO ‘Pachamama’ and the teacher’s union of Ecuador or UNE, over the past three years.

The experts once again urged the Ecuadorian authorities to reverse such decisions and recalled that the closing down of these human rights organizations is the “most severe type of restriction on freedom of association.”

Source: United Nations Radio

Experts welcome end to US counter-terrorism measure

Two UN human rights experts have welcomed the decision by the United States to dismantle what they viewed as a “discriminatory” counter-terrorism measure.

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) was adopted following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001.

Under the system, non-citizens from 25 countries were required to register with the US authorities.

As all the countries were in the Middle East, South Asia or North Africa, experts said it appeared to target people based on preconceptions based on nationality, ethnicity or religious belief.

Dianne Penn has been speaking to one of the experts, Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Source: United Nations Radio

UN experts applaud US decision to dismantle ‘discriminatory and ...

Two United Nations human rights experts welcomed a decision by the United States to dismantle a national registry program targeting people visiting from countries that are home to active terrorist groups, a program that the experts labelled discriminatory and ineffective.

The program, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), applied to citizens from 25 countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. It led to both racial and religious profiling.

Effective counterterrorism strategies and legislation should not be based on preconceptions or misunderstandings about the groups that are the most susceptible to radicalization or violent extremism, announced the UN Special Rapporteurs on, respectively, racism and xenophobia, Mutuma Ruteere, and freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed.

Instead, strategies should be based on and developed in accordance with evidence in order to ensure a proper understanding, they said. An evidence-based approach, they emphasized, more effectively targets at-risk communities and also ensures that entire communities and ethnic or religious groups are not stigmatized or discriminated against.

Counter-terrorism measures must not discriminate against non-citizens, in purpose or effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, emphasized Mr. Ruteere.

I remain hopeful that the new US administration can learn from the shortcomings of the NSEERS and adopt a non-discriminatory approach to counter-terrorism policies.

Under the policy, not a single terrorism prosecution has resulted out of the 80,000 Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians who have registered. While deportation proceedings commenced for some 14,000 people, not a single one has been found to have any links with terrorist or otherwise violent activities.

Discrimination between human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, declared Mr. Shaheed.

This kind of discrimination is a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and described in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, he added.

Special Rapporteurs are part of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Source: UN News Centre

News in Brief (PM)

End of “discriminatory” US counterterrorism measure welcomed

A decision by the United States to dismantle a controversial counterterrorism measure has been welcomed by two UN human rights experts.

The UN Special Rapporteurs on, respectively, racism and xenophobia, Mutuma Ruteere and freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, described it as “discriminatory and ineffective.”

The National Security Entry-Exit Registry System targeted people visiting from countries that are home to active terrorist groups.

It applied to citizens from 25 countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa.

The national registry programme has led to both racial and religious profiling, the UN experts said.

Under the policy, they noted, not a single terrorism prosecution has resulted out of the 80,000 Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians who had registered.

Health workers in Mosul struggle to cope with growing number of patients

Health workers are struggling to cope with the growing number of patients arriving from displaced camps in Qayyarah, south of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

That’s according to Dr Saleh Mohammed, a medical doctor working for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Jaddaa camp.

He treats an average of 150 patients every day in the camp, which serves around 11,000 people.

Acute respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections are the two leading causes of disease in Jaddaa, Dr Saleh says.

WHO has been providing basic lifesaving medicines in the camps hosting people fleeing a military offensive to dislodge ISIL terrorists from Mosul.

The limited number of medical doctors available at the health facility makes it difficult to meet the basic health needs of many people.

And the lack of female doctors, obstetricians and gynaecologists creates challenges in responding to the health needs of women, who may not be comfortable consulting with male doctors.

Qayyarah sub-district currently hosts more than 25 000 people fleeing the fighting in Mosul, all of whom live in camps.

Iraqi families affected by Mosul crisis to get emergency food aid

Thousands of Iraqi families affected by the continuing crisis in Mosul will receive emergency food aid following a generous contribution from Denmark, the UN World Food Programme or WFP has announced.

The US $7 million donation will enable the agency to immediately provide ready-to-eat food, followed by monthly food rations.

WFP supports an increasing number of families across Iraq with unrestricted cash or electronic vouchers to spend in designated stores.

This new contribution places Denmark as the fourth largest donor to WFP’s Iraq emergency operation.

Source: United Nations Radio


Another 800 megawatts (MW) of electricity is being added to South Africa’s national grid, after the first unit of the Kusile coal-fired power station in northern Mpumalanga Province was connected to the national grid.

South African electricity provider Eskom said in a statement here Tuesday that the connection on Monday night move would add an extra 800 MW to the grid to further stabilise the power system to support South Africa’s economic growth.

Kusile, a green-field, coal-fired power plant located near the Kendal Power Station in Mpumalanga, will comprise a total of six units, each rated at 800 MW installed capacity, and is due for completion in 2022.

The plant is the first in Africa to implement clean fuel technology such as flue-gas desulphurisation, a state-of-the-art technology to remove oxides of sulphur, such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases.

Eskom noted that the connection of Unit 1 of Kusile was coming at a time when the utility had been building up excess capacity to ensure security of supply.

In addition to Unit 6 of the Medupi power station, which had been operating for more than a year, Eskom said it had added 1,332 MW from all four units of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, as well as the sychronisation of Medupi Unit 5.

The statement added that the excess capacity had enabled Eskom to increase its electrification target to more than 200,000 households by the end of March 2017, against the target of 169,722 set by the Department of Energy.

Eskom said it had also increased electricity exports to neighbouring countries, many of whose hydro-electric power schemes had been hit by drought. Eskom’s electricity sales to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe rose 31.6 per cent in the six months to Sept 30.

The statement quoted Eskom’s interim group chief executive, Matshela Koko, as saying: Eskom has focused on lessons learnt from its past history of new-build projects and this has led to this early synchronisation.

“Our build programme is now delivering ahead of our re-baseline schedule, our operations have stabilised and, as a result, we are in a position of surplus capacity.”



There has been a draatic increase in cases of rhino poaching in the Eastern South African province of KwaZulu-Natal this year, with at least 159 of the endangered animals having been killed, says the spokesperson for the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Resort, Musa Mntambo.

“There has been a big increase in the number of rhino killed. Our arrests have also increased,” says Mntambo, who adds that October and November have seen an increase in rhino poaching across the province.

He said Tuesday that there had been 129 arrests during 2016 in relation to rhino poaching in the province compared with 97 in 2015.

By early November 2016, the Mercury newspaper reported, 132 rhinos had been killed in KwaZulu-Natal, which means that 27 rhinos have been killed in the past two months alone. The dramatic increase in the number of rhinos lost to poaching has prompted KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu to announce the formation of an Anti-Rhino Poaching Task Team.

In 2014 there were 99 rhinos poached while in 2013 it was 85; and in 2012 it was 66; in 2011 it was 34 and in 2010 it was 38.

In October, Ezemvelo chief executive David Mabunda told lawmakers that the moratorium on new appointments of game wardens was having a negative effect on anti-poaching activities. At the time there were 179 vacant posts in Ezemvelo, but Mntambo said on Tuesday that earlier in December advertisements had been placed and the organization was hopeful that it could fill some of the vacancies.

Rhino poaching has escalated to alarming levels over the past decade with only 13 rhino officially being reported as having been poached in South Africa in 2007.

In 2014, statistics compiled by the non-governmental organization, Save the Rhino, showed the figure had peaked at 1,215 and dropped slightly last year to 1,175. That is about a

9,000 per cent increase in less than a decade.



About 85 per cent of prisoners in South Africa commit crimes after their release, according to the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), which has called on the Department of Correctional Services to focus on rehabilitating inmates.

Reacting to news of the deaths of three inmates after a brawl between prisoners and warders at the St Albans Prison in Port Elizabeth, in Eastern Cape Province, on Monday, Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said Tuesday:

That means the work of rehabilitating (prisoners) is not taking place within prisons. So, we feel that there is a need to come up with better means to ensure that all prisons become self-efficient. We do not need prisoners idling around, just waking up, eating and sleeping as is currently happening.

Stressing that more prisoner education is needed, he added: We feel that taxpayers’ money can be redirected to better use, for example in assisting with education. We need prisoners to be self-sufficient. We need them to produce their own food. We need, obviously, to acquire many other skills within prisons; not everything must be tendered out.

Eastern Cape Popcru Chairperson Loyiso Mdingi said the authorities must fast-track the employment of more staff in prisons to avoid unnecessary deaths.

Describing Monday’s attack as disturbing, he said: It is so unfortunate that the incident that took place at St Albans, where three inmates were reported killed in the cells because of the conflict between the warders and the inmates.

“We are going to engage the management of the Department of Correctional Services to say ‘Let us speed up the employment of more (staff) members to assist in terms of boosting the manpower.