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By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  8 June, 2018


UN Security Council imposes sanctions on six human traffickers in Libya. The six men – four Libyans and two Eritreans – head up criminal networks and militias that exploit mainly sub-Saharan Africans seeking to cross the Mediterranean from Libya’s coast. The sanctions, which went into immediate effect on Thursday, will freeze their bank accounts and prohibit them from international travel. The Netherlands put forward the motion for sanctions with support from France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom after a month-long investigation. Russia put a technical hold on the motion in May and requested more evidence but dropped its objection on Thursday. The six individuals include Mus’ab Abu-Qarin, who is accused of organizing an April 2015 crossing that ended in the deaths of 800 people, and Abd al Rahman al-Milad, who heads the regional unit of the Coast Guard in Zawiya and is believed to collaborate with smugglers. Dutch prosecutors said the men were ostentatious with their wealth and acted with impunity. In a tweet, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, welcomed the sanctions as significant and “a good start”.

Aid agencies in Yemen rush to develop contingency plan for Hudaydah attack. In a statement released by the UN today, aid agencies in Yemen expressed deep concern about the likely impact of a military assault on the densely populated port city of Hudaydah, which is home to an estimated 600,000 people. With Yemeni forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition now just 12 kilometres outside Hudaydah, Lise Grande, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said humanitarian organizations have rushed to develop a contingency plan. In a worse-case scenario, she said, “we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything – even their lives.” Besides the impact on the local population, an attack on Hudaydah could cut the rest of Yemen off from imported humanitarian aid and commercial goods, 70 per cent of which enters the country through the port. Separately, on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross pulled 71 of its international staffout of Yemen, citing a series of security incident and threats, and the Norwegian Refugee Council demanded an investigation into an airstrike in Sana’a that damaged a building housing its staff.


Balkan nations agree to cooperate as arrivals to Bosnia climb. Last year, Bosnia and Herzegovina registered 755 asylum-seekers. This year, the number has reached almost 5,000, of whom about half have moved on to Croatia and western Europe. The Economist reports that authorities have been straining to care for the new arrivals. Balkan ministers met yesterday in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, to discuss their response to the growing movement of refugees and migrants through the region. They agreed on stronger cooperation among police agencies and on registration of those arriving. The European Commission said it would grant €1.5 million in humanitarian aid to address the increasing needs of refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Conflict in Cameroon drives refugees into Nigeria. Fleeing English-speaking regions of Cameroon, more than 21,000 refugees have been registered by UNHCR in Nigeria, most of them in Cross River State. The Guardian met some of those forced to abandon their livelihoods and take their children out on school while they wait for safety to return back home. It quoted an aid worker with Caritas who said the situation in anglophone areas of south-west Cameroon remains tense, with “no sign of better days ahead”.

Community sponsorship brings Syrian families to Wales. NPR reports on a small but growing community sponsorship programme that has brought 25 Syrian families to the UK since 2016, including six families who have come to Wales. Seven more groups have formed in Wales to sponsor more refugees. To get Home Office approval, they must raise £9,000 and secure housing for the family. In the Welsh town of Haverfordwest, a group of 30 residents welcomed their first Syrian family last month. The group has been helping the family deal with practicalities like getting their children to school as well as helping them overcome their sense of disorientation.


Ahead of TEDxKakumaCamp tomorrow, Al Jazeera’s The Stream devoted last night’s episode to discussing how Kakuma is redefining what a refugee camp is. Guests included UNHCR’s chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming, who is co-organizing the TEDx event, and model Halima Aden, who was born in Kakuma and will be giving her first TEDx talk there tomorrow. Current residents of Kakuma participated in the discussion online with comments about what how life in the camps has changed since it was set up 25 years ago.


Nearly 18 million people in Yemen don’t have enough food. Of these, more than 8 million are severely food insecure and rely entirely on aid.