Concern for “tens of thousands” of rights defenders under arrest in Egypt – OHCHR
The UN human rights office has expressed concern at Egypt’s “renewed campaign of arrests, interrogations and detentions” of civil rights campaigners in the past few weeks.
Those targeted include activists, bloggers and journalists.
Numbers may run into thousands overall, since the 2013 revolution, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR, said.
Here’s spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani:
“On the numbers we don’t know. We’ve highlighted many of the emblematic cases just from last month. But there’s really no way of knowing exactly how many people have been detained for exercising their human rights, their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association. There are figures out there that run into the tens of thousands who have been detained since the June 2013 coup, but we have no way of verifying that.”
Those detained include prominent blogger Wael Abbas and Haytham Mohamadein for calling for illegal protests.
OHCHR says that in many cases, individuals are not given an arrest warrant, while others are jailed “for mere tweets” that are critical of the authorities.
Mediterranean boat tragedy update – UNHCR
Details are still emerging of a tragedy that is believed to have claimed the lives of more than 110 migrants and refugees who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
According to reports, around 180 people left the Tunisian shoreline on Saturday night on an overloaded vessel which then broke down many kilometres out to sea.
Fifty-two lost their lives and another 60 are still missing, presumed dead, after a search operation was called off owing to bad weather, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
Each passenger had paid around $1,000 for the crossing.
Here’s spokesperson William Spindler in Geneva:
“We are concerned about recent incidents in this part of the central Mediterranean; this is part of a broader mixed migration movement of refugees and economic migrants which continues to be recorded near the coasta city of Sfax in Tunisia.”
According to the UN Migration agency, IOM, the majority of the victims were Tunisians.
Children “as young as one” involved in U.S. separation of migrant families - OHCHR
The U.S. practice of separating “extremely young children” from their asylum-seeker or migrant parents along the country’s southern border “always constitutes a child rights violation”, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday.
Since last October, “several hundred” youngsters – including a 12-month-old infant - have been separated from their families while their parents serve out prison sentences for entering the U.S. illegally, or wait in detention while their asylum claims are processed, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.
“The first cases were registered in October but this goes back to, I believe January 2017, when the President of the United States had issued two executive orders related to migration and this separation of children is a direct consequence of that decision.”
When the youngsters’ parents are released, they are reunited with them and deported back to their country of origin.
For the majority this means to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where “rampant insecurity and violence” has forced them to flee, the OHCHR official explained.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.