European Union guilty in refugees’ drowning, United Nations say


This 20 April 2015 video says about itself:

More migrants drown in latest shipwreck

The calls for help from the middle of the Mediterranean continued on Monday after another boat filled with migrants ran aground off Greece.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

UN attacks ‘callous’ EU over sea tragedy

Tuesday 21st April 2015

UNITED NATIONS high commissioner for human rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein urged European Union governments yesterday to take a new and “less callous” approach to the surge of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Hussein said in Geneva that recent deaths in the Mediterranean were “the result of a continuing failure of governance accompanied by a monumental failure of compassion.”

He called for the creation of a robust and well-financed European search-and-rescue effort and urged the international community to set up an independent inquiry.

The UN high commissioner said that Europe was turning its back on some of the world’s most vulnerable migrants and ran the risk of turning the Mediterranean into “a vast cemetery.”

His passion and humanity contrasted with the tired repetition of past failures by EU border surveillance agency Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri, who insisted that recent tragedies involving migrants trying to enter Europe showed the continent must do more to stop economic migration.

EU leaders will hold an emergency summit on Thursday to address the crisis in the Mediterranean.

The bloc’s president Donald Tusk made the announcement yesterday after days of waffling and indecision on how to tackle the rapidly worsening tragedy of hundreds of migrants drowning during desperate attempts to reach Europe’s shores.

The situation worsened further yesterday, with rescue crews still searching for survivors and bodies while hundreds more migrants took to the sea.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been to the fore in demanding an end to seach-and-rescue operations as a supposed “pull factor” for refugees, welcomed the summit.

He said: “I think what we need is a comprehensive plan that does involve elements of search and rescue but, crucially, we have got to do more to deal with the problems in the countries from which these people are coming.”

That in itself sounds OK, Mr Cameron. However, you forgot to mention that these ‘problems in the countries from which these people are coming‘ are caused to a very large extent by the warmongering by your government and governments like yours, in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Mali etc.

DEATH TOLL FOR MEDITERRANEAN DISASTER COULD HIT 900: Only 28 survivors have been found thus far. The captain and a crew member have been arrested for “multiple homicide.” [NYT]

THE appalling death of up to 950 people fleeing the war-torn regions of the Middle East and North Africa has prompted the political representatives of European capitalism to rush to Luxembourg for an emergency meeting to discuss this ‘humanitarian’ crisis. Most of them support the ‘Australian solution’ – that the boats should be turned back at gunpoint as soon as they set sail, and to hell with the poor, the oppressed and the hungry: here.

European Union plans more aggressive measures against refugees: here.

Blood on their hands: Libya’s boat refugees and “humanitarian” imperialism: here.

700 refugees drown, European politicians guilty


This 19 April 2015 video is called Boat Carrying 700 Migrants Capsizes Off Libya.

From AFP news agency:

700 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean shipwreck

Hundreds more people are believed to have drowned when a fishing boat smuggling migrants to Europe capsized off Libya, UN’s refugee agency says

Sunday 19 April 2015 10.14 BST

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Migrant boat disaster: ‘irresponsible’ rhetoric blamed for failure to restart rescue

UN official accuses politicians in Britain and across Europe of obstructing attempts to save migrant lives after boat sinks in Mediterranean

Mark Townsend

Saturday 18 April 2015 20.43 BST

Anti-immigrant rhetoric from politicians across Europe, including Britain, is blocking attempts to introduce large search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean that would save large numbers of migrant lives, a senior UN official has warned.

In comments that reveal the growing frustration within the UN Refugee Agency over Europe’s response to the growing migration crisis in the Mediterranean, Laurens Jolles said political expediency was preventing measures being taken to reduce migrant deaths.

Jolles, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Italy, said: “In many countries in Europe at the moment, the [political] dialogue and the rhetoric is quite extreme and very irresponsible.”

Italy is experiencing a wave of hostility towards the influx of migrants before regional elections at the end of May, while in the runup to the UK general election, Ukip has been accused of forcing a toxic debate about immigration and national identity.

Jolles said: “Because of elections and because of the economic crisis, it becomes difficult for those parties who traditionally would not follow on those same lines to counter the rhetoric with the strength that they should.

“It’s a fear of foreigners, which is a logical fear, a natural fear, but it is being exploited for populist or political reasons, especially in election periods.”

An estimated 400 migrants drowned last week when their boat capsized en route from Libya to Italy. The tragedy prompted fresh calls from human rights organisations to mount large-scale search-and-rescue operations, but UNHCR officials say politicians are choosing to avoid upsetting their electorates. “The level of this dialogue compared to 20 years ago is just incredible. It wouldn’t have been possible in the past, the racist rhetoric, the rhetoric of intolerance. In the 60s, 70s and the 80s, we would never have accepted this,” said Jolles.

Critics say the cancellation last year of an Italian-run sea rescue mission, Mare Nostrum, and the launch in November of Triton, a significantly smaller border surveillance operation by the EU, have created the conditions for what many believe will lead to a record number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this year.

EU governments believe the narrower scope of the current mission is justified, claiming that a scaled-back rescue operation will deter migrants from making the crossing.

The Foreign Office says it will not support future search-and-rescue operations because they encourage migration.

“The fact that the UK has made it clear that it does not wish to participate in contributing measures to a rescue operation, or putting in place a rescue operation in the Mediterranean, is very concerning,” said Jolles.

In December, the UNHCR appealed to the EU to provide 130,000 resettlement places for Syrians displaced by the civil war. Germany has pledged to take 30,000 and Sweden 2,700. The remaining 26 EU states are taking 5,438 between them, with Britain taking just 143. “The UK should be participating and contributing in a European context to solidarity measures and trying to fulfil its part making it easier to deal with these [migration] flows,” said Jolles.

“If one really wants to tackle the problem and ensure that there are less deaths, then the thing to do is to look at providing legal avenues to come to Europe. There is an obligation, both moral and legal, to try and do something. People will die.”

The European commission has drawn up a policy document, the European Agenda on Migration, due to be presented to member states next month, aimed at establishing a concerted European asylum policy. It more clearly defines conditions for legal migration, while formulating “a clear plan to fight smuggling and trafficking of migrants and an effective return policy”.The UNHCR is concerned that rather than helping to create a safe passage for migrants, the commission is more concerned with trying to stop people entering. “What we are hearing is that there is more dialogue on how to prevent people coming to Europe and how to stop them than how to manage the flows and what to do when these persons come into Europe,” said Jolles.

This article might also have mentioned French Prime Minister Valls, copying the anti-Roma and anti-refugee hate speech of the neo-fascist National Front.

Laurens Jolles’ criticism of European politicians, at least as summarized in this Observer article, does mention the war in Syria (encouraged by politicians like British Prime Minister David Cameron, one may add) and refugees from that war, but does not mention another important point. In 2011, European politicians like David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy enthusiastically preached and practiced ´humanitarian war´ for regime change in Libya. Warmongering hawks in the United States administration like Victoria Nuland and Samantha Power (a lot more pro-war in Libya, it seems, than President Obama, or even than the Pentagon) joined them. That ‘humanitarian’ Libya war led to an extremely un-humanitarian chain reaction of bloodshed in Libya and in other African countries. To neo-colonial war in Mali. To neo-colonial war in the Central African Republic. Etc.

Without these horrors of bloodshed and economic destruction in Africa, fewer people would try to flee Libya and other African countries. There would have been a better chance of refugees being rescued. Of course, there would be even better chances for them without the European politicians’ anti-refugee rhetoric, as Laurens Jolles notes correctly.

Hundreds of refugees drown in Meditteranean, again


This United Nations video says about itself:

Mediterranean Drownings: The High Commissioner’s Comments

15 April 2015

The High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres 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.

More than 400 people drown in Mediterranean Sea as ship carrying African migrants from Libya to Italy capsizes: here.

THE UN refugee agency has said once again that not enough is being done to save the lives of the tens of thousands of migrants who are being driven by hunger to try to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Europe: here.

Four hundred migrants fleeing Libya have reportedly drowned after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean last weekend. A spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration in Italy told Agence France-Presse that survivors reported there were up to 550 people on board when the ship sank. Around a dozen bodies have been recovered so far: here.

‘German neo-nazis set refugees’ home on fire’


This 4 April 2015 German video is about the arson at a refugee home in Tröglitz.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

German refugee center partly burned down

Today, 14:48

The roof of a new refugee center in Tröglitz, near Leipzig, was destroyed by fire. Two people who at the time of the fire were in the building were able to escape.

The damage to the building is 100,000 euros.

There is no trace of the perpetrators, but the police of the village, with around 2700 inhabitants, suspect the fire was ignited by neo-Nazis. They have been protesting for weeks against the construction of the center which from May on would accommodate forty asylum seekers.

Mayor resigned

The arrival of asylum seekers in Tröglitz is getting attention in Germany since the resignation of Mayor Mark Nierth, last month. He supported the building of the refugee center, but did not feel sufficiently supported by the regional authorities.

Mayor Mark Nierth was a member of the (center right) CDU political party. So were the state authorities who left him in the lurch.

He also complained that the neo-Nazi NPD could demonstrate right in front of his home. Nierth said his children were frightened and that his family got too little protection. federal level politicians called it a shame that a democratically elected mayor saw himself forced to resign in this way.

Protest in Tröglitz against nazi arson: here.

Nigerian lesbian refugee deported from Britain?


This video from Britain says about itself:

Interview with Aderonke Apata

11 April 2014

Former Yarl’s Wood detainee Aderonke Apata discusses the traumas of the British Immigration system.

Interview: Emma Jean Pittarides

Camera: Ralph Pritchard

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Nigerian gay rights activist has her High Court asylum bid rejected – because judge doesn’t believe she is lesbian

Aderonke Apata was so desperate to convince the Government she was gay that she submitted a private DVD and photographs of her sex life as evidence

Emily Duggan

Friday 03 April 2015

A Nigerian gays right activist who fears imprisonment and death because of her sexuality has had her case for asylum rejected by the High Court – after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be lesbian.

Aderonke Apata was so desperate to convince the Government she was gay that she submitted a private DVD and photographs of her sex life as evidence. Yet a High Court judge has ruled that she engaged in same sex relationships in order to “fabricate” an asylum claim.

Ms Apata, 47, came to Britain in 2004 and has won awards for her gay-rights campaigning. She is engaged to her long-term partner Happiness Agboro, also from Nigeria, who has already been granted asylum in the UK based on her sexuality. …

The judge acknowledged petitions signed by several hundred thousand people supporting her case – and her considerable support from LGBT activists in court – but said “I do not think that can amount to evidence as opposed to opinion and support (although that support is very impressive).”

Judge Bowers did not accept a controversial Home Office argument that Ms Apata could not be gay because she had previously had children and heterosexual relationships. Nevertheless, he agreed with the Government’s assessment that she could not be considered part of the ‘particular social group’ known as lesbians.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who was in court to support Ms Apata, said of the ruling: “It’s bizarre that the judge does not accept that Aderonke is a member of a particular social group, namely lesbian women. I find it offensive to suggest that she’s adopted the ‘customs, dress and mores’ of lesbian women purely in order to gain refugee status, given the evidence that she’s presented in her claim.

“The worst aspect of the ruling is the judge doesn’t accept that she has a well founded fear of persecution if she returns to Nigeria. It’s clear that she’s been publicly identified in the UK and in Nigeria as a lesbian or bisexual woman. Such women face the twin threats of legal persecution and mob violence in Nigeria.” …

Ms Apata is frightened of what will happen next but believes there may be further legal avenues for her to pursue. She did not want to risk damaging a future case by commenting publicly on the ruling.

Ms Apata was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress in 2005 and attempted suicide when she was in prison facing deportation. Her mental health formed part of the case.

Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Nigeria under laws passed in January 2014 and there has been a spike in violence against gay people.

Yarl’s Wood guard suspended over alleged assault on women. Inspectors say video footage of incident at Serco-run immigration detention centre has ‘caused considerable concern’: here.

Saudi Arabia’s refugee-killing bombs in Yemen


This video says about itsdelf:

Many dead in ‘air strike on north Yemen refugee camp

30 March 2015

At least 40 people have been killed in an attack on a camp for internally displaced people in north Yemen, as a Saudi-led coalition continued to strike Houthi targets around the country for a fifth day. Al Jazeera‘s Kim Vinnell reports.

By Niles Williamson:

Dozens of refugees killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen

31 March 2015

The International Organization for Migration reported on Monday that an airstrike on the Al Mazraq refugee camp in Yemen’s Hajjah Province killed at least forty people and injured two hundred others. The attack occurred on the fifth consecutive day of airstrikes carried out by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by intelligence and logistical support from the United States.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at least five hundred families had entered the camp in recent days to escape airstrikes in northern Yemen being carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies with the support of the United States.

MSF reported that its doctors treated 34 people wounded in the airstrike at its hospital in the nearby town Haradh. The group also reported that women and children were among 29 people dead on arrival at the facility.

The camp, which currently houses approximately 5,000 people in crude tent shelters, was established in 2001 to house people displaced by fighting between the Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia in the northern provinces. “People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp,” Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen, said in a statement released on Monday.

The MSF also reported that it has treated more than 500 patients at its emergency surgical unit in the southern port city of Aden …

Saudi-led airstrikes over the weekend destroyed power plants in Houthi stronghold Saada, knocking out power to most of the province. Jet fighters also hit targets throughout the capital of Sanaa for a fifth straight day Monday. Bombs rained down on the presidential palace as well as air defense systems, missile launch pads and jet fighters. Sanaa has been under the control of the Houthis since last September.

In less than a week, the Saudi-led campaign of unrelenting airstrikes has reportedly destroyed a significant portion of Yemen’s air force and anti-aircraft defenses. Military bases and arms depots throughout the country have also come under attack.

The Houthi rebels have continued their assault on Aden, where Hadi had rallied loyal military forces before he fled the country for Saudi Arabia last week. Houthi forces that made an assault against Aden’s northeastern suburbs Monday were met with heavy rocket and artillery fire from Egyptian warships.

Saudi and Yemeni officials have asserted that military operations will continue until the Houthi militias are militarily defeated and Hadi is in a position to reassert control over the entire country. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud promised that his country would continue its military operations “until stability is returned” to Yemen.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday, ousted Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin rejected the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the Houthis. “The operation will end when Yemen is safe and secure. But we will only negotiate with those who are willing to disarm,” he stated. “We won’t negotiate with [the Houthis] because they carried out a coup. They used the state’s weakness to take over.”

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both close US allies, have backed the expanding campaign of air strikes with the threat of an imminent ground invasion to push back the Houthis. Saudi Arabia has mobilized as many as 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen. Egypt has reportedly stationed troop ships off the coast of Yemen in preparation for an amphibious assault.

A delegation headed by Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaj Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz will be in Saudi Arabia today, where they are expected to officially announce Pakistan’s decision to send troops to take part in the military assault in Yemen.

A senior Pakistani official told Reuters on Monday that his government was planning on dispatching a contingent of soldiers to Saudi Arabia to support military operations. “We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the official stated.

The open participation of Sunni majority Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran, in a ground invasion spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and backed by the United States would mark a significant escalation in the conflict. What began as a proxy war between the Shiite Houthis backed by majority Shiite Iran and the Yemeni government backed by the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia could rapidly devolve into an open sectarian conflict drawing in countries from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Calls for investigation over use of British planes in Yemen refugee camp attack. Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said on Monday that British planes have been used in Saudi-led military operation: here.