Tag Archives: United Nations

If the EU Attacks Migrant Boats in Zuwara, Libya, How Will It Select from Among the 100s of Boats?

Italy and other EU States are clearly in possession of information regarding the specific locations in Libya from where migrant boats depart. The Guardian’ s Patrick Kingsley has been reporting from Libya in recent days, interviewing smugglers and observing a migrant boat depart on at least one recent occasion from the port of Zuwara located west of Tripoli.

If the EU does press forward with its stated intention of destroying boats that may be used by smugglers, how will the EU select the boat or boats to be destroyed? Google Earth imagery dating from early this year shows approximately 125 large fishing boats moored in the harbour and another 100 boats on land immediately adjacent to the harbour. Dozens of smaller boats are also in the water and on land. (See screen shots below.) Additionally, the harbour is surrounded by at least five large warehouses, each approximately 100 metres in length. The Google Earth imagery suggests that additional boats may be located within some of the warehouses.

There is no effective and safe (or legal) means by which a particular smuggling boat can be identified and destroyed without destroying multiple other boats. As the Guardian’s Kingsley wrote, “smugglers do not maintain a separate, independent harbour of clearly marked vessels, ready to be targeted by EU air strikes. They buy them off fishermen at a few days’ notice. To destroy their potential pool of boats, the EU would need to raze whole fishing ports.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Sunday criticised the EU plan to use military force, telling La Stampa (as reported by Reuters), “[t]here is no military solution to the human tragedy playing out in the Mediterranean. It is crucial that we take a holistic approach that looks at the root causes, at security and the human rights of migrants and refugees, and have legal and regulated immigration networks.”

Zuwara Harbour 2015 Via Google Earth

Zuwara Harbour West Side Warehouses via Google Earth

Zuwara Harbour South Warehouses South 2015 via Google Earth

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Filed under European Union, Libya, Mediterranean, News

HRC Adopts Resolution on Migrants and Asylum Seekers Fleeing North Africa; Calls for Inquiry Into Allegations of Failures to Rescue Boats in Distress

The UN Human Rights Council, 17th Session, on Friday, 17 June, adopted a resolution (A/HRC/17/L.13) on Migrants and Asylum Seekers Fleeing from Events in North Africa.  The Resolution recalls states’ obligations under human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law, including the obligation of non-refoulement and called for ships patrolling the Mediterranean Sea to provide assistance to non-seaworthy boats leaving North Africa.

The Resolution also calls for “a comprehensive inquiry into the very troubling allegations that sinking vessels carrying migrants and asylum seekers fleeing the events in North Africa were abandoned to their fate despite the alleged ability of European ships in the vicinity to rescue them, and welcomes the call made by the Council of Europe in this regard on 9 May 2011.”  [NB – this quoted text is taken from a 15 June version of the Resolution and may not reflect the final approved language. frenzen]

The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 14 against, and no abstentions:

In favour (32): Angola; Argentina; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Brazil; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Chile; China; Cuba; Djibouti; Ecuador; Gabon; Ghana; Guatemala; Jordan; Kyrgyzstan; Malaysia; Maldives; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Nigeria; Pakistan; Qatar; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Thailand; Uganda; Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (14): Belgium; France; Hungary; Japan; Norway; Poland; Republic of Korea; Republic of Moldova; Slovakia; Spain; Switzerland; Ukraine; United Kingdom and United States.

Excerpts from the Afternoon 17 June summary of the HRC meeting:

“OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), introducing draft resolution L.13, said the African Group recognized that due to the recent crisis situation in North Africa, migrants had suffered great hardship. Migrants were fleeing, not flowing out of North Africa. People were running away because their lives were at risk. Other root causes for migration did not apply in this case.  This resolution had been difficult to establish. Nigeria thanked all partners for their efforts in developing the draft resolution. The information emanating from North Africa was such that while neighboring countries did quite a lot in accommodating migrants, there were substantial difficulties in traveling from North Africa. Some people had even died at sea. Nigeria took note that some countries did provide assistance through their offices of migration or other mechanisms. The hardship suffered by migrants should be investigated in order to clarify the problems that arose and ensure this situation was not repeated. Nigeria believed that the Special Rapporteur, working with the High Commissioner, would be able to provide information about how to deal with such a situation in the future. The African Group would appreciate if the draft resolution would be approved by consensus.

[***]

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the European Union had assisted greatly with the humanitarian effort in Libya. From the outset the European Union had been at the forefront of humanitarian response. The European Union had been active in repatriating third country nationals.  This had been vital in reducing the stress on neighboring countries. The draft text was circulated late. The European Union had engaged in a constructive spirit on the text, while retaining a specific focus that would address the issue at stake in a more balanced and legally accurate manner, notably when referring to issues related to refugee law and law of the sea. It noted that this was particularly true with regard to PP7 and operative paragraphs, which introduced new language that was not consistent with public international law. The resolution did not capture the multi-dimensional aspects of the problem. There was no reference to the overall human rights situation in the region, and therefore the root causes of the plight of migrants.  The resolution did not refer to the responsibility of criminal traffickers and continued to characterize the situation in an unbalanced way. The European Union and its Member States had continued to observe the principle of non-refoulement. Not a single refugee had been subjected to refoulement. The European Union called for a vote and noted that it would vote against the resolution.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L. 13, said the United States shared concern for the migrants and asylum seekers fleeing the violence in Libya. A resolution requiring countries to recognize their obligations under international law and support victims of violence and migrants from Libya was important.  However, this resolution assigned the sole responsibility to countries of destination and avoided reference to the root causes of the problem. The draft resolution used language that misconstrued State obligations and responsibilities regarding those migrants and asylum seekers. The sponsors had delayed introduction of the draft resolution, thus allowing only a restricted period to review and provide comments on the draft resolution. The United States regretted that the manner the resolution was developed belied its importance and sent the wrong message to the Gaddafi forces.”

Click here for UN News Centre summary.

Click here for the AFTERNOON 17 June 2011 summary of the HRC meeting.

Click here or on this link [ L.13 Document As Received ] for Resolution “document as received.”

Click here for Resolution “document as issued.” [NB – this may not be the final approved version.]

Click here  or on this link [ L.13 Oral Revision ] for Resolution “oral revision.”

Click herehere or here for final versions of resolutions when available.  [HRC Extranet registration may be required.]

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Filed under Hungary, Libya, Mediterranean, News, OHCHR, Statements, United Nations, United States

UN OCHA Situation Report 4 on Libya / UNHCR Update

OCHA Situation Report 4 on Libya.  “HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES:

  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened a meeting of United Nations agencies and regional organizations to discuss a coordinated approach to the humanitarian situation in and around Libya. He intends to appoint a special envoy responsible for coordinating the relief effort;
  • According to IOM, 172,874 people, mainly migrant workers, have left Libya to date;
  • The OCHA-led joint United Nations rapid assessment reported little evidence of destruction between the Egyptian border and Benghazi. There are concerns over the implications a fuel-supply cut will have on the continuity of water and power supplies for critical infrastructure;
  • According to the Financial Tracking Service, US$35.6 million has been contributed and $10 million pledged from donors in response to the crisis.”

Click here for OCHA Situation Report.

Click here for OCHA Map and Data update.

UNHCR – “GENEVA, March 3 (UNHCR) – An operation to evacuate tens of thousands of people from the Tunisian border and fly them home was under way on Wednesday. Under a programme led by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 50 flights were planned on Thursday to take migrant workers, mostly Egyptians, back home. UNHCR flew home 177 people to Egypt on a first flight Wednesday evening…..”

Click here for UNHCR update.

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Filed under Data / Stats, Egypt, Libya, Mediterranean, News, OCHA, Tunisia, UNHCR, United Nations

Satellite Imagery- Situation at Ra´s Ajdir, Libya-Tunisia Border Crossing Facility (3 MAR 2011)

From UNITAR/UNOSAT:  “Based on a rapid assessment of satellite imagery recorded this morning (3 March 2011 – 11:26 am local time) there are several thousand people located primarily within the Ra´s Ajdir border crossing facility along the Libyan-Tunisian border. There are multiple concentrations of people within different waiting and processing sites, as well as long lines of people and small vehicles waiting to move beyond the border into Tunisia. Although there are many permanent buildings in the area, there are no indications of emergency tent shelters available within the facility grounds for the thousands of people currently waiting. This report is part of an on-going satellite monitoring program of UNITAR/UNOSAT of the Libyan crisis and will be updated based on new satellite imagery tasking.”

Click on pictures below or here for links to images.

 

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Filed under Data / Stats, Libya, Mediterranean, News, OCHA, Tunisia, United Nations

UN OCHA Situation Report 3 on Libya

OCHA Situation Report 3 on Libya.  HIGHLIGHTS/KEY PRIORITIES:

  • On 1 March, an estimated 12,000 people were evacuated from the Tunisia-Libya border to Egypt by air and sea;
  • A United Nations joint rapid assessment mission is currently in eastern Libya proceeding to Benghazi to assess humanitarian needs;
  • The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator has allocated some US$5 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to kick-start emergency efforts to help people fleeing violence in Libya.

Click here for Report.

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Filed under Egypt, Libya, Mediterranean, News, OCHA, Reports, Tunisia

OCHA – Numbers of People Crossing into Neighbouring Countries from Libya

This report is produced by OCHA in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued by Cairo and New York. It covers the period from 28 February to 1 March 2011.

 

IRIN - Numbers of People Crossing into Neighbouring Countries

 

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CERD Issues Urgent Call for Protection of Non-Citizens and Migrants in Libya

Acting pursuant to its early warning and urgent action procedures, “[t]he United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on the international community and the UN system to seek urgent measures to protect non-citizens, migrant populations, migrant workers, refugees and other minority groups in Libya….”

Click here for Relief Web summary and here for CERD Statement.

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Filed under CERD, Libya, Mediterranean, News, Statements, United Nations