Monthly Archives: December 2016

LIBYA DEPORTS DOZENS OF ILLEGAL AFRICAN MIGRANTS

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.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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 ineffective’ counterterrorism programme

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