UN News in Brief: 2 February 2018

2 February 2018

Topics:

• Migrant’s bodies wash ashore in Libya

• Kenyan TV stations remain off air despite State directive

• Maldives urged to respect decision to overturn conviction against former leader

Migrant’s bodies wash ashore in Libya

At least 90 migrants have drowned after their boat capsized off the coastal city of Zuwara in Libya, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) reported on Friday.

The bodies of two Libyans and eight Pakistanis washed ashore, while two survivors swam to shore and a third was rescued by a fishing boat.

The survivors said that most of those who drowned were from Pakistan, as IOM records show increasing numbers of Pakistanis are attempting the treacherous crossing to Italy.

While Pakistani nationals ranked 13th on a list of the number of migrants trying to reach Europe in 2017, so far this year they are already the third highest by nationality, said the IOM.

Roughly 240 reached Italy in January this year, up from only nine in January 2017.

This latest tragedy comes as the UN Migration Agency reports that 6,624 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 28 January this year, up from 5,983 during a similar period in 2017.

Kenyan TV stations remain off air despite State directive

Three Kenyan television stations were shut down on Tuesday, after the government accused them of “complicity” for broadcasting the symbolic swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

On Friday, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) expressed concern that the TV stations remained suspended for a third day despite an interim order by a Kenyan High Court, and it called on the Government to respect and implement the judicial decision to allow transmissions to resume.

Rupert Colville is a spokesperson for the UN human rights office, which is based in Geneva:

“We call on the Government to respect and implement the judicial decision. We are also concerned at its attempts to interfere with the rights to freedom of expression by reportedly warning that participation in Mr Odinga’s ceremony would lead to revocation of licences. Media organizations that disregarded this advice were shut down.”

The UN Human Rights Office urged the Kenyan government and opposition in “to work towards resolving the current situation through dialogue, with full respect for the rule of law and the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and political participation.”

Maldives urged to respect decision to overturn conviction against former leader

Authorities in the Maldives are being urged by the UN human rights office to fully respect a Supreme Court decision to overturn the conviction of former president Mohamed Nasheed.

The country’s first democratically elected leader is living in exile after being sentenced in 2015 to 13 years imprisonment for terrorism-related charges.

The UN human rights office is also calling for a retrial of his case and the release of eight other political prisoners, as well as the reinstatement of 12 suspended opposition Members of Parliament.

The office said the situation in the Maldives has been a pressing concern for several years now, and it is “closely watching” developments, according to a statement issued on Friday.

 

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