Tuesday 12 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
The United Nations' refugee agency on Wednesday welcomed a move by Libyan authorities to create a "transit and departure facility" to transfer the most vulnerable migrants to third countries. Supported by the Italian government, the centre in Tripoli would help thousands of vulnerable migrants reach safety, the UNHCR said in a statement. Libyan authorities have not so far confirmed the centre's creation. The announcement comes just days after US news channel CNN broadcast video footage appearing to show migrants being sold as slaves near Tripoli. The UNHCR's Libya representative, Roberto Mignone, said the centre's main aim was to speed up the process of helping unaccompanied and separated children and women to find "solutions in third countries".
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. refugee agency on Wednesday welcomed a decision by Libya to open a transit centre for unaccompanied children and other vulnerable refugees from among hundreds of thousands of migrants, and called on EU countries and others to accept them. Reports this month of white Libyan slave traders selling black African migrants at markets in Libya - a grim echo of the trans-Saharan slave trade in centuries past - have drawn worldwide horror and condemnation. Hundreds of thousands of migrants have been crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean to reach Europe through Libya in each of the past several years. Thousands die during crossing the desert and at sea. Many are now being held in camps in...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Libya agreed Wednesday with key EU and African leaders to allow migrants facing abuse in detention camps to be evacuated within days or weeks, mostly to their home countries, French President Emmanuel Macron said. The decision was taken after Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called for "all urgent measures" to end slave trading and other migrant abuses in Libya at an EU-Africa summit in Abidjan. The leaders of Libya, France, Germany, Chad, Niger and four other countries "decided on an extreme emergency operation to evacuate from Libya those who want to be," Macron told reporters after their emergency talks on the summit sidelines. The summit comes just two weeks after US network CNN aired footage of black Africans sold as...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
Ghana's president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has criticised Libya over migrant slave markets, saying the abuses call into question wider African unity. A furore over the auctions is expected to dominate discussions between African Union and European Union at a two-day summit starting Wednesday in Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan. Akufo-Addo condemned the practice in a post on his Twitter account late on Tuesday, calling it "gross and scandalous" abuse of human rights. But he also said the auctions made "mockeries of the alleged solidarity of African nations grouped...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
A Libyan man accused of masterminding the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed a US ambassador and three others was acquitted Tuesday of murder but convicted on lesser terrorism charges. After a seven-week trial in a civilian court in Washington, a jury cleared Ahmed Abu Khattala -- the first person tried over the fiery raid on the US complex in the Libyan coastal city -- of the most serious of the charges he faced. Prosecutors were apparently unable to prove to the jury that Khattala, leader of a militant group who had been photographed watching the attack on September 11, 2012, was directly to blame for the deaths of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a second state department official, and two CIA...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. jury on Tuesday acquitted accused Islamic militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah of the most serious charges he faced in connection with a 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found Khatallah guilty on only four of the 18 counts he faced and acquitted him on murder and other charges, according to the Justice Department. He was convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, one count of providing material support to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying property and one count of using and carrying a semiautomatic weapon...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
Libya's UN-backed authorities said Tuesday that flights repatriating stranded migrants will be stepped up, as the International Organization for Migration called on Tripoli to empty its detention centres. The plight of migrants in Libya has garnered fresh attention after an outcry over reports of slave auctions in the country, an enormous transit hub for sub-Saharan Africans seeking to reach Europe. Human-trafficking networks have flourished in the chaos that followed a NATO-backed uprising which toppled long-time Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. In a joint operation involving the internationally recognised authorities and UN migration agency, the IOM, 140 Nigerian migrants were jetted out of Libya on Tuesday in the latest in a string of flights carrying migrants out of the country...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
The United Nations wants Libya's internationally-backed government to agree to shut down 30 detention centers holding 15,000 migrants, most of whom will be sent back to their countries, the head of the IOM said Tuesday. The detention of the migrants, most of whom are fleeing poverty, has become a pressing issue after video footage showing African men sold in Libyan slave auctions sparked global outrage. At a Security Council meeting called by France, the head of the International Organization for Migration said he was working with the UN refugee agency on a plan "to try to empty the detention centers." "We need from the Libyans the agreement that we can empty these centers and I think they will agree to...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
VIENNA (Reuters) - OPEC will debate this week whether to cap oil output from Nigeria and Libya, which have so far been excluded from supply curbs due to falling production amid unrest, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. The 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Thursday to decide whether to extend production cuts until the end of 2018. The sources said the idea was to cap Nigerian output at 1.8 million barrels per day and Libyan at 1 million bpd.
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
The UN Security Council must take stronger measures, possibly including sanctions, to put a stop to slave auctions in Libya, the French ambassador said Monday. France has requested an urgent meeting of the council for Tuesday, a week after the top UN body held a debate on human trafficking that touched on the abuse of migrants in Libya. "We must go much further, much further in terms of saying 'no' to an unacceptable situation," French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters. Asked whether sanctions were possible, Delattre said: "We are working on every conceivable measure to fight against this scourge. We don't exclude anything." UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week he was horrified by footage aired by CNN showing an...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
LEPTIS MAGNA, Libya (Reuters) - The limestone and marble ruins of Leptis Magna on Libya’s coast could be a hive of activity and a top tourist destination, but conflict has left one of ancient Rome’s great Mediterranean cities almost entirely cut off from the outside world. Guards are unpaid and most visitors are local, with only the occasional handful of foreigners, including one or two intrepid tourists, making it to the site. On weekdays, it is almost deserted, with only the odd group of local teenagers dotted among the expansive ruins. “There’s something that remains of the tourist police, but they can’t protect it,” says 60-year-old Ali Hrebish, one of several dozen volunteer guards who “for God and country” help...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
More than 30 migrants died and 200 were rescued on Saturday after their boats foundered off Libya's western coast, the Libyan navy said. The coastguard conducted two rescue operations off the city of Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, spokesman Colonel Abu Ajila Abdelbarri said. He added that patrols had found 31 bodies and 60 survivors from one boat, while all 140 passengers had survived in a second boat. "When we arrived at the spot, we found an inflatable dinghy with several people clinging to part of it," he said. Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem told AFP that 18 women and three children were among the dead recovered from the sea...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday urged the international community to "do more" following reports of the "abhorrent and despicable" enslavement of vulnerable African refugees arriving in Libya. "Canada will not stay silent in the face of such inhumane atrocities," Trudeau said in a statement published on a government website. "While it is clear that the Libyan government is investigating this horrific injustice, and humanitarian organizations have launched efforts to help the victims, more must be done," he said. The prime minister called on all United Nations member states to implement and enforce a protocol against human trafficking, particularly of women and children. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday, in response to the reports, that "slavery and other such...
(APA 11/27/17)
APA-Brazzaville (Congo) - Le président du Haut Conseil des tribus et villes libyennes, Ladjili Brini, a qualifié dimanche à Brazzaville « la maltraitance des frères africains en Libye de crime contre l’humanité ». Intervenant lors de la réunion de cette instance avec le président du Comité de haut niveau de l’Union africaine(UA) sur la crise libyenne, le chef de l’Etat congolais Denis Sassou N’Guesso, M. Brini a déclaré : « la situation tragique en Libye s’aggrave de jour en jour, les gouvernements mis en place pendant les sept dernières années ont tous échoué dans la protection des citoyens contre les violations graves et crimes horribles contre les populations », a-t-il expliqué. « La maltraitance de nos frères africains nous fait...
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
The number of migrants who have reached Italy via Libya has dropped significantly since July, when the European Union reached a deal with Libyan authorities to stem migrant flows, the UN said Thursday. The EU's decision to help Libya intercept migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean and return them to detention centres was condemned as "inhuman" earlier this month by the United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. But a report from the UN refugee agency indicated that the pact has achieved its objective of curbing migrant arrivals in Italy. "Over the past three months, 21,666 refugees and migrants have crossed the sea to Italy, the lowest number for this period over the last four years," the UNHCR...
(AFP (eng) 11/23/17)
The EU's anti-trafficking operation is working to train Libya's coastguard on how to respect the human rights of migrants recovered at sea, the mission's commander said Thursday. The operation, dubbed Sophia, was created two years ago to combat human trafficking in the Mediterranean, and has rescued about 42,000 people attempting the perilous crossing from Africa to Europe since then. "We have arrested 119 alleged smugglers, destroyed boats, (and) trained 201 coastguard personnel," Italian admiral Enrico Credendino said on the sidelines of a seminar on migration and security in Rome. The coastguard training has proved controversial, though, with critics saying that Europe...

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