Libya urged to end migrant detention
The head of the UN migration agency (IOM) has urged Libya to stop detaining migrants who have been returned to the country after trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
William Lacy Swing made the personal appeal to Libya’s Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, IOM’s Leonard Doyle told journalists in Geneva.
“One after another, he heard absolutely awful personal stories of human grief in these detention centres. His call, really, is not to send migrants back into detention.”
Of more than 50 detention centres in operation last year in Libya, only 17 are still open and thousands are still being held, according to IOM.
Last month alone, almost 4,000 people were rescued in the country’s territorial waters, the agency said in a statement, noting with concern that migrants are sent into detention, often into overcrowded and poorly monitored centres.
UNHCR appeals for stronger search-and-rescue in Mediterranean Sea
Staying with migration, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has called for greater search-and-rescue facilities in the Mediterranean Sea, amid a continuing “high loss of life”.
For the fifth year in a row, more than 1,000 people have died or are missing after attempting the crossing from North Africa.
This is despite the fact that five times fewer asylum seekers and migrants have reached Europe’s shores in the first six months of 2018 than in 2016, when arrivals were at their peak.
Amid concerns about a toughening stance by some EU countries towards volunteer boats that have been prevented from disembarking migrants, UNHCR’s Charlie Yaxley said that saving lives must remain a priority:
“If we have any threats of legal action or potential repercussions hanging over boats rescuing people at sea, then the very principle itself will potentially come under risk. You may see ship masters wavering over responding to distress calls and that is a dire situation not only for refugees and migrants, but for anybody who is in distress at sea.”
Between January and April, non-governmental organizations have been responsible for around 40 per cent of rescue operations for those disembarked in Italy, according to UNHCR.
Human Rights Council ends 38th session
The Human Rights Council ended its latest session on Friday in Geneva, with a flurry of action on resolutions to tackle everything from violence against women and girls on the Internet, to grave abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Over the last three weeks, the Council’s members have also highlighted human rights situations in 90 countries and there have been updates from high-level probes on Syria and Burundi.
Participants included representatives from 147 States, 260 non-governmental organizations and 16 national human rights institutions.
In total, 20 resolutions were adopted, including for the first time, action to protect women and girls with a specific focus on tackling the threat online.
The development comes amid media coverage of so-called revenge porn, digital harassment and artificially manipulated pictures and videos.
While there was some objection to the resolution’s emphasis on sexual education for girls to empower them “to safely use and navigate digital technologies”, the resolution was adopted without a vote.
The Council’s 47 Members also passed texts on Eritrea by consensus and on Syria by a vote of 26 to 5, with 15 abstentions.
They also agreed to continue highlighting rights abuses in DRC — and to push to establish responsibility for dire violations in the Kasai.
After the resolutions, two new independent investigators were also appointed: one on the environment, the other on the situation of human rights in Iran.
These Special Rapporteurs, as they are officially known, are required to report back to the Council, which next meets in September.