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News in Brief 30 January 2020

News in Brief 30 January 2020

This is the News in Brief from the United Nations. 

UN agency suspends work at transit site for refugees in Libya 

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has halted operations at a site in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, out of fear that it could become a target in the country’s ongoing conflict. 

UNHCR on Thursday announced that it has suspended work at the Gathering and Departure Facility, which houses asylum seekers and refugees, after learning the police and military are conducting training exercises nearby. 

Jean-Paul Cavalieri, UNHCR's Chief of Mission in Libya, said: “We fear that the entire area could become a military target, further endangering the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and other civilians.”  

Tripoli, located in western Libya, is the seat of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which is battling the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), aligned with a rival government in the east. 

LNA forces have lain siege to southern Tripoli since April last year.  

The Gathering and Departure Facility was established as a transit site for refugees identified for resettlement or evacuation to third countries. 

Some 400 asylum seekers from a detention centre that was hit by deadly airstrikes last July are also sheltering there. 

UNHCR has begun moving some of the people to safer locations.  

End political deadlock in Iraq, top UN official urges 

Amid ongoing protests and violence in Iraq, the top UN official in the country is calling for increased efforts to break political deadlock and move ahead with needed reforms. 

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), on Thursday warned that use of force during the demonstrations will not bring an end to the crisis. 

She said “the continuing loss of young lives and the daily bloodshed is intolerable”, pointing out that at least 467 protesters have been killed and more than 9,000 injured since October.  

The mission chief emphasized that the authorities must protect the rights of peaceful protestors and ensure that use of force complies with international standards. 

Those responsible for any deaths and attacks also must be brought to justice, she added. 

She said: “It is high time to restore confidence by setting aside partisanship, acting in the interest of the country and its people”. 

Rights experts commend safe return of Irish woman associated with ISIL 

Independent UN human rights experts have commended Ireland and Turkey for their efforts in repatriating an Irish woman who was married to a man associated with the terrorist group ISIL in Syria. 

Lisa Smith and her infant daughter arrived in Dublin in December after being held in the Ain Issa displacement camp in northern Syria. 

“The close cooperation between Ireland and Turkey has led to her safe return and both States fulfilled their obligations to ensure the full protection of Ms. Smith and her daughter’s human rights”, the independent experts said on Thursday. 

They encouraged other countries to ensure the rights of women and children returnees associated with ISIL are respected. 

Ms. Smith was a former member of the Irish Defence Forces. 

She had travelled to Syria in 2015, where she got married and had her daughter, according to media reports. 

She and the child were transferred to Turkey after the displacement camp was bombed last October. 

Dianne Penn, UN News. 



  • UNHCR suspends work at transit site in Libya 
  • End political deadlock in Iraq, top UN official urges 
  • Rights experts commend safe return of Irish woman associated with ISIL 


Audio Credit
Dianne Penn, UN News
Audio Duration
Photo Credit
© UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem