One in two African children on the move do not want to go to Europe: UNICEF
Most youngsters on the move from Libya to Italy have fled violence and many said that initially they did not intend to travel to Europe when they left home, the UN said on Tuesday.
Libya has long been a magnet for migrants seeking work, but gangs of human traffickers have taken over swathes of the country since President Ghadaffi was ousted in 2011.
In Geneva, UN Children’s Fund UNICEF noted that nearly half of the youngsters approached for its report, said they had been kidnapped for ransom in the war-torn North African state.
For most, the only option is a perilous voyage on a totally unsuitable inflatable vessel, across the Mediterranean Sea.
The UNICEF study goes against the current narrative on migration since it shows that there are far more so-called “push factors” than “pull factors” for children coming to Europe.
Here’s UNICEF’s Sarah Crowe:
“They are more willing to take these terrifying sea journeys because of what happened to them in Libya. As one young Gambian boy told me recently, if you have a lion at your back and the sea in front of you, you take the sea.”
Most of the youngsters interviewed in Italy came from sub-Saharan countries.
Domestic violence was cited as one of the key reasons for leaving home, but many blamed deprivation and conflict too.
One in five girls also said that child marriage was their main motivation for leaving.
In Italy, arrivals of unaccompanied and separated children almost quadrupled from 2012 to 2016, to nearly 26,000 youngsters.
Mosul’s needs go beyond expectations, warns IOM
Evidence of a “human calamity” is emerging from newly liberated areas of the Iraqi city of Mosul after the defeat of ISIL extremists, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said.
According to the UN, well over a half of residential districts in the west have been “flattened” or significantly damaged.
All five bridges over the Tigris river lie destroyed and schools and utilities are in total ruins.
Elsewhere, explosive devices litter the floor of Mosul’s main hospital complex, 80 per cent of which is now a burnt shell.
Today, IOM is providing aid to more than 360,000 people displaced by the violence.
But it has received just a third of its US$ 29 million appeal for Mosul and says that this funding gap “may significantly impact” future humanitarian operations.
Migrant arrivals in Europe reach 112, 000, 2,361 deaths
Staying with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the agency said on Friday that nearly 2,400 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe so far this year.
Latest data from IOM shows that Italy took in almost 85 per cent of arrivals; the remainder were divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
Many of those setting out from Libya are intercepted by the Libyan coast guard. So far this year it has rescued 11,400 people and found nearly 350 bodies.
Meanwhile, on the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece, latest data shows that smugglers are charging migrants more to get to Europe.
According to IOM, many migrants pay at least US$ 5,000 to get into the EU, and those from Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan are charged the most.
The rise since last year coincides with stiffer border controls that have made it harder to reach the European Union.
Northern European countries remain the most sought-after destinations, IOM says- a change from a year ago, when Germany was the primary goal.
Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva