Libya’s migrants and refugees with TB ‘left to die’ in detention centres
Sick migrants and refugees suffering from tuberculosis are being left “effectively to die” in a Libyan detention centre south of Tripoli, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday.
Twenty-two people are believed to have died at the Zintan facility of TB and other illnesses since last September, spokesperson Rupert Colville said.
“Tuberculosis need not be a killer disease, but in these circumstances, clearly it is killing people and there must be a risk that more will die. There’s another report that people are being sent to a different place near the front line effectively to die there, because they are Christians, and there’s no burial facilities near Zintan.”
Mr. Colville also expressed concern at reports that migrants picked up in the Mediterranean Sea and returned to shore by the coastguard have been disappeared or sold to traffickers.
Of more than 200 people delivered to the Al-Khoms detention facility on 23 May, only 30 migrants are still present, he said, highlighting reports that some women have been sold for sexual exploitation – the latest in a long list of “horrific abuses to which migrants and refugees are subjected” in the troubled North African State.
Today, some 3,400 migrants and refugees are detained in Tripoli, according to OHCHR.
OHCHR on Australia probe in national broadcaster
And staying with the UN Human Rights office, it has urged Australia uphold press freedom, after a decision there to investigate the country’s national broadcaster for reports it ran on alleged unlawful killings involving troops in Afghanistan.
Here’s spokesperson Rupert Colville again, talking to journalists in Geneva:
“Freedom of the media as you all know very well, is essential to the protection of all human rights. Violations often come to light solely because of the work of investigative journalists who play a crucial role in fostering transparency and holding Governments and other national authorities accountable for their actions. And Australia like any other State must abide by its international human rights obligations including by ensuring that its national legislation is in line with international law.”
Citing the UN Human Rights Committee, Mr. Colville noted its comment that the police probe was “incompatible with international human rights law to invoke national security laws to suppress or withhold from the public information of legitimate public interest that does not harm national security”.
Hospitals, schools under ‘near daily attack’ in Syria’s north-west: UN humanitarians
“Airstrikes, artillery shelling and barrel bombs” are responsible for “near-daily” attacks on civilians, hospitals and schools in north-west Syria, U N humanitarians said on Friday.
Amid deadly violence in opposition-held Idlib province, where a Government-led military operation escalated in late April, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the hostilities had left “at least 160 civilians confirmed dead”, and hundreds more injured.
Since 28 April, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on healthcare in the north-west, including on one ambulance, spokesperson Jens Laerke told journalists in Geneva:
“We are seeing a military escalation, absolutely, no doubt about that. Now, after eight years of war in Syria, I think every time that we kind of reach the limit of the language that we have, we speak about disasters, catastrophes, ‘this is the end’, these are ‘meltdowns of humanities’ – I recall many of these words having been used here – we see something even worse.”
Some three million people in Idlib need protection, according to OCHA, which has warned that “education is also under attack”, with 36 reports of schools being hit in the north-west by the end of last month.
UN human rights experts call for independent probe into Philippines violations
And finally, 11 UN-appointed rights experts have called for an independent probe into what they say is a “staggering number” of unlawful deaths and police killings in the Philippines, linked to the authorities’ self-declared war on drugs there.
In their appeal to the UN Human Rights Council to carry out the investigation, the experts express concern over alleged killings of rights activists, noting that “very few independent and effective” inquiries have taken place.
Independent media and journalists have also been threatened, they claim, while the law has been “weaponised” to undermine press and judicial freedom.
The Human Rights Council is made up of 47 UN Member States elected by the UN General Assembly.
Its next session begins on 24 June in Geneva.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.