By Kristy Siegfried | 13 February, 2020
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Security Council votes for “lasting ceasefire” in Libya as UN flights to capital banned. After weeks of diplomatic negotiation, the UN Security Council on Wednesday passed a resolution aimed at stemming rising violence across Libya, demanding the warring parties commit to “a lasting ceasefire”. The resolution reaffirms support for the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and underlines commitments made by international leaders at a conference in Berlin last month. It also expresses grave concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya, including for migrants, refugees, and those internally displaced by the conflict. Also on Wednesday, the UN said its flights were not being granted permission to land in Tripoli by the Libya National Army (LNA). UNSMIL said flights carrying UN staff to and from the capital had been blocked several times in recent weeks and it feared “severe consequences” for its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict. A spokesperson for the LNA confirmed the blockage and said the UN would have to use other airports.
Former Italian interior minister could face trial over alleged treatment of migrants. Italian senators on Wednesday voted to lift immunity for the leader of Italy’s League party, Matteo Salvini, opening the way for a criminal investigation and potential trial over accusations he illegally detained migrants at sea last year. Salvini has been accused of abusing his powers last July when, as interior minister, he prevented 131 migrants and refugees from disembarking an Italian coastguard boat at a port in Sicily as he waited for other European Union States to agree to take them in. The upper house Senate voted 152-76 in favour of removing the legal protection that shielded him as a former cabinet minister, opening the way for magistrates in Sicily to press charges. During his 14 months as interior minister, Salvini barred Italian ports to NGO rescue ships. Salvini said he had only been defending national interests.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Greek islanders protest plans for new closed asylum facilities. Greek officials and residents from the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos gathered outside the Greek interior ministry in Athens today to protest government plans to build new closed facilities for asylum-seekers on the three islands. On Monday, the government said it would evoke emergency powers to press ahead with plans announced last November to replace overcrowded reception centres with holding facilities where the movements of asylum-seekers would be strictly regulated. The islanders are calling for the majority of some 36,000 refugees and migrants currently staying on five Aegean islands to be moved to the mainland. UNHCR has also called on the government to speed up transfers to the mainland and address “alarming” conditions at reception centres.
What’s driving the crisis in northern Mozambique? More than two years of militancy in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province has intensified dramatically in recent months. UNHCR said on Friday that attacks on villages have now displaced at least 100,000 people, many of them from areas still struggling to recover from last April’s Cyclone Kenneth. The New Humanitarian reports that few residents are clear on why they are being attacked or who is responsible, adding an extra layer of fear on top of the very real dangers they face. The lack of clear information on which to base security decisions has also created a difficult operating environment for aid groups. Meanwhile, the militants appear to be getting stronger, driving up humanitarian needs.
Asylum-seeking women vulnerable to homelessness in UK. A report published this week by the charity Women for Refugee Women explores the experiences of 106 destitute asylum-seeker women in the UK. Almost a third of the women surveyed said they had been raped or sexually abused in their country of origin and again after becoming destitute in the UK. Ninety-five per cent of the women had experienced hunger and depression and a third had tried to kill themselves. The Guardian shares the experiences of three women who fled violence or persecution in their home countries only to become destitute in the UK after their asylum claims were initially rejected.
An uneven welcome for fleeing Venezuelans. The initially warm welcome shown to the millions of Venezuelans who have sought refuge in countries across Latin America and the Caribbean has begun to cool in places, according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank. The report examines migration policies in 11 countries in the region which have taken in 3.9 million Venezuelans over the past five years. It finds that receiving countries have largely responded with openness, providing legal status to many, but as the exodus has continued, several countries have started requiring visas and passports which are difficult for most Venezuelans to obtain. The report finds that the new requirements have redirected many migrants from legal to illegal routes “often empowering smugglers and traffickers in the process”.
Dublin football team, the Bohemians, have teamed up with Amnesty International to create a new shirt featuring an image of a fleeing family and the message “Refugees Welcome”. The Bohemians director, Daniel Lambert said the shirt aimed to highlight the difficult conditions many refugees face living under Ireland’s Direct Provision system. “We don’t see this as a political issue,” he said. “We see it as a societal issue, a social issue, a humanitarian issue.”
DID YOU KNOW?
About 3.9 million Venezuelans have moved elsewhere in Latin America or the Caribbean over the past few years, making it the second largest displacement crisis in the world after the Syrian one.