The European Union must intensify its efforts in placing the rights of migrants at the centre of its migration policies, a United Nations human rights committee on 16 April 2015 affirmed following the latest maritime tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea which may have claimed hundreds of lives.
Tens of thousands of desperate people are attempting to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe in dangerous boats like these in Libya. Photo: UNHCR/F. Noy
“States of origin, destination and transit must also address the root causes that lead to smuggling and trafficking in persons,” the UN Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers (CMW) said in a press release issued earlier this afternoon which added that the continual loss of life in the Mediterranean’s waters transcended the limits of natural calamity and was, in fact, “a human rights tragedy.”
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Only through a strict adherence to international human rights standards can the world’s counter-terrorism strategies ultimately succeed, two United Nations human rights experts have declared.
Kenyan troops serving with AMISOM make their way through the Somali port city of Kismayo following the ouster of Al Shabaab militants. UN Photo/Stuart Price
“Just as much as we condemn terrorism, particularly at a time when the international community reaffirms its unreserved commitment to combat it, we must demand that human rights be respected in the context of such a challenge,” said Ben Emmerson, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and the UN Special Rapporteur on religious freedom, Heiner Bielefeldt, in a press release issued on 16 April 2015.
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London, 13 April 2015 (IRIN)
– In a new column, anthropologist and author of “Illegality, Inc.” Ruben Andersson of the London School of Economics warns that European Union initiatives to collaborate with African states may fuel irregular migration rather than stem it.
Photo: Cristina Vergara López/IRIN | Migrants protesting in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa, in 2010. Ceuta and its sister enclave Melilla are Europe’s two existing ‘offshore solutions’ for irregular migrants and asylum seekers on African soil.
In 2010, on the eve of the Arab spring, the time had come for the big yearly gathering at Europe’s borders as police, Navy officers and border guards congregated in a swish hotel in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Eighty-nine security chiefs from 25 countries mingled in the fifth Euro-African policing conference on irregular migration. In the breaks, African marines sipped tea with Spanish civil guards on the hotel terrace while Algerian and Greek officers snapped pictures of each other as souvenirs.
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By Jen Maman*
I watched a short documentary last week about a young boy in Uganda named Locheng, who dreams of learning how to read and write (watch it if you can, it’s only 12 minutes but is very powerful). Primary school in his village costs the equivalent of $14, which he cannot afford. So he just hovers outside the classroom – peeking in through the windows and trying to make sense of the strange script on the board.
Photo credit: Javier Barbanco/Greenpeace
I thought about this boy when I read this morning that $1.8 trillion were spent last year on the military world wide, according to the latest figures by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
This so-called ‘defense’ spending topples all other forms of government spending both domestically and internationally. For example, according to the 5 Per Cent Campaign, on average, industrialized countries spend three times as much on military as on education (in the US – it is six times as much).
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Geneva (UNHCR) – UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres on 15 April 2015 expressed shock at news from the Mediterranean that hundreds of people were missing after their boat sank and called anew for urgent action to prevent such tragedies in the future.
© UNHCR/F.Malavolta | Medics carry a young man on a stretcher off the Italian Coastguard vessel Gregoretti when it reached Palermo in Sicily earlier this week after rescuing people from the Mediterranean.
The latest incident involves the capsizing of a double-deck boat on Monday in waters about 120 kilometres south of Italy’s Lampedusa Island. So far, 142 people have been rescued and eight bodies recovered. But survivors said some 400 others were aboard and are feared lost.
Guterres, who is on mission in Lebanon, called afresh on governments across the region to prioritize the saving of lives, including by urgently expanding and upgrading search and rescue capacities.
“I was deeply shocked when hearing the news that another boat, an overcrowded boat capsized in the Mediterranean and where 400 people died. This only demonstrates how important it is to have a robust rescue-at-sea mechanism, in the central Mediterranean,” he said.
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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 15 April 2015 announced a new partnership with the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) to help strengthen cross-border investigations into match-fixing and manipulation of sports competitions, as well as bolstering measures to prosecute offenders.
UN Photo/David Mutua
“Recent cases make clear the urgent need for effective responses to match-fixing. This is not only a ‘simple’ breach of sporting rules; it is also a criminal justice issue, and, I would add, an issue of public trust”, said UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, during a special event at the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, under way in Doha, Qatar.*
He said that links between match-fixing and other criminal activities have been identified as additional challenges for investigators and law enforcement authorities.
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Beirut — Despite impressive progress in raising school enrollment over the past decade, one in four children and young adolescents in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are either out of school or at risk of dropping out, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Syrian refugee children walking on a street in the Za’atari camp in northern Jordan. Photo: UNICEF/Simon Ingram
“At a time of such change and turmoil, this region simply cannot afford to let 21 million children fall by the wayside,” Maria Calivis, Regional Director for UNICEF MENA, on 15 April said in a statement from Beirut.
“These children must be given the opportunity to acquire the skills they need through education in order to play their part in the region’s transformation,” she added.
According to a joint report released by UNICEF and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a 40 per cent reduction in the number of out-of-school children in the MENA region over the past decade provided hope and opportunities for millions.
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