Inter Press ServiceExtra TVUN – Inter Press Service http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:09:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 Nigerian Returnees Learn the Ropes of Business Development at Homehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/nigerian-returnees-learn-ropes-business-development-home/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nigerian-returnees-learn-ropes-business-development-home http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/nigerian-returnees-learn-ropes-business-development-home/#respond Fri, 31 Aug 2018 18:55:39 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157430 “Before I travelled to Libya, I was into phone sales and repairs and palm oil production, but I left my business to migrate due to challenges like power outages,” said Onyekachi as she stood in a room full of fellow returnees. “With this training, my dream will come true because I have been grouped into […]

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Returnees embark on a timber supply collective reintegration project in Benin City. Photo: IOM 2018

By International Organization for Migration
LAGOS, Aug 31 2018 (IOM)

“Before I travelled to Libya, I was into phone sales and repairs and palm oil production, but I left my business to migrate due to challenges like power outages,” said Onyekachi as she stood in a room full of fellow returnees. “With this training, my dream will come true because I have been grouped into an agriculture-based business.”

Onyekachi is one of 273 Nigerians returning from Libya who are attending a business skills training this week in Lagos (27-31 August), as part of their reintegration assistance organized by IOM, the UN Migration Agency. The training on Business Skills and Cooperatives for Returned Migrants is the 21st event held in Nigeria targeting returnees who wish to start businesses in their communities of origin.

Since April 2017, 2,051 Nigerian returnees (1,130 male and 921 female) have participated in business trainings in Lagos, Edo, Nassarawa, Kano and Kaduna States, where they learn about the types of businesses they intend to launch, whether individually or in groups.

In addition to collective reintegration schemes, other returnees will be supported under community-based projects, such as fruit juice, palm oil, palm kernel and plantain processing factories in Edo and Delta States — where most assisted returnees originate from. These projects are intended to benefit not only the individual returnees but also their communities of origin.

“The training is now focused on having more sustainable businesses and not just regular trading, buying and selling. We are concentrated more on agriculture-related businesses because they are more sustainable and will add more value to the returnees’ communities,” said lead trainer Osita Osemene after the first day of activities. “We also have stories of returnees like Anita from Benin City, who has started her palm oil produce business under the individual reintegration scheme, and another group of returnees who started a fish farming business,” she added.

Technical sessions focused on entrepreneurship, bookkeeping, supply chain management, as well as recommendations to develop a business idea. Returnees also attended sessions on ‘mindset reset’, where they had the opportunity to share experiences about their journeys abroad. “I travelled on 26 May 2017 and paid a total sum of 500,000 Naira (approximately USD 1,400) from proceeds of my fish business in Benin City. I wanted to travel to Italy but was arrested at sea, spent a month and one week in prison and was assisted to return back to Nigeria in June 2018,” said a participant named Blessing during one such session. “Now because of the training I know that I have hope again.”

This training was organized under a joint initiative funded by the EU and implemented by IOM in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria, which offers in-kind reintegration assistance to help some returning migrants start their businesses. Some of the businesses already in motion include poultry farms, beauty salons and grocery shops. Reintegration assistance may also comprise medical treatment, education support and job placement.

Following this training IOM, in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), will organize a job fair at the end of September where returnees will have the opportunity to meet private sector leaders in Nigeria and search for job opportunities to match their skills.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration is a three-year programme that has helped close to 10,000 Nigerian women, men and children return home voluntarily from countries such as Libya. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries, including 13 across West and Central Africa.

For more information please contact IOM Nigeria:
Jorge Galindo, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email: jgalindo@iom.int
Abrahm Tamrat, Tel: +234 906 228 4580, Email: tabrahm@iom.int

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IOM and Humanitarian Actors Respond to Needs in Tripolihttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/iom-humanitarian-actors-respond-needs-tripoli/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=iom-humanitarian-actors-respond-needs-tripoli http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/iom-humanitarian-actors-respond-needs-tripoli/#respond Thu, 30 Aug 2018 21:35:37 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157414 IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has responded to the urgent humanitarian needs of hundreds of displaced Libyans and migrants affected by violence, following armed clashes in the Libyan capital. Early Monday morning (27/08) heavy clashes erupted between armed groups in Tripoli, causing THE displacement of civilians AND migrants in the affected area. Despite the security […]

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IOM provides emergency assistance to displaced Libyan families. Photo: IOM Libya, 2018

IOM provides emergency assistance to displaced Libyan families. Photo: IOM Libya, 2018

By International Organization for Migration
TRIPOLI, Aug 30 2018 (IOM)

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has responded to the urgent humanitarian needs of hundreds of displaced Libyans and migrants affected by violence, following armed clashes in the Libyan capital.

Early Monday morning (27/08) heavy clashes erupted between armed groups in Tripoli, causing THE displacement of civilians AND migrants in the affected area. Despite the security constraints, on 28 August IOM, Libyan and Malian authorities were able to ensure the safe transport of 118 men, 22 women, 16 children, two infants and eight medical cases to Mitiga airport for their further safe return home to Mali.

Prior to departure the migrants received non-food items and health and protection assistance as part of IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance. Unfortunately, an additional 30 migrants scheduled to depart were unable to reach the airport due to security constraints. IOM is following up to ensure their return as soon as possible.

“We are coordinating closely with the Libyan authorities and our humanitarian counterparts to ensure assistance reaches all those in need,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “Our priority is the safety and well-being of civilians affected by the violence.”

The current security situation forced families to flee for safety. As part of its humanitarian response IOM provided mattresses, blankets and hygiene kits to displaced Libyan families who were able to seek shelter in a school in Tripoli. The humanitarian situation and needs of these families are being assessed by IOM.

At the same time, migrants at the Ain Zara and Salaheddin detention centres in the affected area were evacuated by the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) to safer centres with the support of humanitarian actors.

As part of a joint humanitarian response coordinated between the UN agencies and international organizations, UNHCR distributed core-relief items including 500 blankets in Abu Slim detention centre, while IOM provided mattresses, food and beverages to more than 400 migrants, including 322 evacuated from other unsafe locations. MSF teams are conducting medical consultations, as well as providing food, water and nutritional supplements to people still in detention centres.

On 30 August, in close coordination with the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Somali Embassy, IOM provided direct humanitarian assistance in the form of medical consultations, food, water and non-food items to around 90 Somali migrants affected by the violence. Migrants who expressed a desire to go back home will be provided with Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance to guarantee their safe return. IOM is closely coordinating with UNHCR to find solutions for the Somalis who do not wish to return home.

IOM continues to monitor the situation closely and respond to the humanitarian situation of the affected populations in Tripoli, while coordinating with the Libyan authorities, UN agencies and international organizations to ensure existing needs are addressed.

IOM staff remains on the ground, continuing regular operations.

For more information please contact Christine Petre at IOM Libya, Tel: +21629240448, Email: chpetre@iom.int

You can view this statement online here.

 

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Perspectives on Environmental Migration — 10 Key Takeaways from the Global Compact for Migrationhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/perspectives-environmental-migration-10-key-takeaways-global-compact-migration/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=perspectives-environmental-migration-10-key-takeaways-global-compact-migration http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/perspectives-environmental-migration-10-key-takeaways-global-compact-migration/#respond Thu, 30 Aug 2018 13:55:22 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157408 Following the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, United Nations Member States, for the first time in their history, committed to develop, negotiate and adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The GCM is a non-binding cooperation framework that articulates a common set of commitments, on the basis of 23 […]

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Perspectives on Environmental Migration — 10 Key Takeaways from the Global Compact for Migration

The GCM clearly identifies slow onset environmental degradation, natural disasters and climate change impacts as drivers of contemporary migration. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

By International Organization for Migration
GENEVA, Aug 30 2018 (IOM)

Following the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, United Nations Member States, for the first time in their history, committed to develop, negotiate and adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The GCM is a non-binding cooperation framework that articulates a common set of commitments, on the basis of 23 objectives, for states to respond to the challenges and opportunities of contemporary international migration, and formulates provisions for implementation, follow up and review.

On 13 July 2018, the final text of the GCM was finalized and presented at the United Nations Headquarters at the end of the 6th round of intergovernmental negotiations. This finalized text offers a set of guiding principles, but also articulates concrete measures for action related to border management, documentation, migrant services, capacity building for states, consular protection, skills recognition, mechanisms of portability and building environments for migrants and diasporas to be actors of development.

The text also contains multiple references to environmental migration, articulating a wide and comprehensive understanding of the challenges linked to the environment-migration nexus. Most of the references related to environmental migration are made under Objective 2: Minimizing the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin, which contains a section specifically dedicated to the subject and entitled “Natural disasters, the adverse effects of climate change, and environmental degradation” (Objective 2, paragraphs 19.h-19.l). Furthermore, a few important references can be found under Objective 5: Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration.

10 Key Takeaways from the GCM on Environmental Migration 

1. The GCM clearly identifies slow onset environmental degradation, natural disasters and climate change impacts as drivers of contemporary migration.

2. The text acknowledges the multi-causality of migration as environmental drivers interact with political, economic and demographic drivers.

3. The text articulates comprehensive potential responses to address these drivers: design of appropriate measures in the countries of origin to make migration a choice rather than a desperate necessity; disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and disaster response; and facilitation of population movements.

4. The GCM recognizes that climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in countries of origin need to be prioritized to minimize drivers of migration.

5. The text also acknowledges that adaptation in situ or return of migrants might not be possible in some cases and that the strengthening of regular migration pathways (planned relocation and visa options) need to be part of migration management tools.

6. The GCM outlines the need for states to cooperate to identify, develop and strengthen solutions for people migrating in the context of slow-onset environmental degradation (in particular desertification, land degradation and sea level rise) and slow-onset disasters (drought).

7. The GCM outlines the importance of working at the regional level to address environmental drivers of migration.

8. The text encourages policy coherence by highlighting that the GCM rests on a number of global instruments related to climate change, disaster and environmental governance: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

9. The text also highlights the need to take into account recommendations stemming from state-led initiatives with a focus on mobility linked to natural disasters outside of the UN context: the Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change, and its follow up, the Platform on Disaster Displacement, as well as the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative (MICIC).

10. The GCM recognizes the need for more investments in strengthened evidence, data and research to address environmental migration challenges.

The finalization of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration represents an exciting and important achievement for the governance and management of international environmental migration, both now and in the future. Yet the challenges of translating global policy into national and regional practices should not be underestimated.

Environmental migration remains a relatively new topic, with little stocktaking and evaluation of the effectiveness of existing practices, especially those experiences related to the most innovative commitments outlined in the GCM. What is certain is that achieving the ambitious commitments set out in the Global Compact will be contingent on robust political will, adequate funding resources, and the successful development of new coalitions of actors.

For more information on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) and the links to the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), visit the IOM Environmental Migration Platform

Analysis by Dina Ionesco and Mariam Traore Chazalnoël, Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division, IOM 

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Cursed or Blessed? Nigerian Victims Of Trafficking Can Finally Break The Oathhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/cursed-blessed-nigerian-victims-trafficking-can-finally-break-oath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cursed-blessed-nigerian-victims-trafficking-can-finally-break-oath http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/cursed-blessed-nigerian-victims-trafficking-can-finally-break-oath/#respond Wed, 29 Aug 2018 14:23:07 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157397 “When an acquaintance told me there might be work for me in Austria, I jumped at the opportunity. She told me how good Austria was so I figured I would just get there, find work and settle in. They told me the journey was easy so I decided to give it a go.” These are […]

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Cursed or Blessed? Nigerian Victims Of Trafficking Can Finally Break The Oath

By International Organization for Migration
GENEVA, Aug 29 2018 (IOM)

“When an acquaintance told me there might be work for me in Austria, I jumped at the opportunity. She told me how good Austria was so I figured I would just get there, find work and settle in. They told me the journey was easy so I decided to give it a go.”

These are the recollections of Sara, one of thousands of Nigerian women who have been fooled by traffickers and sent to Europe, West and Central Africa and the Middle East for domestic labour or sexual exploitation.

For the past three years, the majority of people arriving in Italy by sea were Nigerian. Fifty nine per cent of all victims of trafficking (VoT) assisted by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in 2016 were Nigerians; the Organization estimates that a staggering 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girls arriving by sea that year were trafficked for sexual exploitation.

In addition to paying large sums of money to their traffickers, Nigerian VoTs often submitted to a voodoo rite which bound them by ‘contract’ to their traffickers. The so-called contract, among other things, prohibits victims from revealing the names of their traffickers and other details that may lead to the identification of exploiters — victims are too scared to break it because they are made to fear that “bad things” will happen to them and their families if they do.

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 67,122 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,549http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-67122-2018-deaths-reach-1549/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-67122-2018-deaths-reach-1549 http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-67122-2018-deaths-reach-1549/#respond Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:28:48 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157382 IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 67,122 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 26 August, with 27,994 to Spain, the leading destination this year. This compares with 123,205 (172,362 for the entire year) arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 272,612 at this point in 2016. […]

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IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 67,122 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 26 August, with 27,994 to Spain, the leading destination this year. This compares with 123,205 (172,362 for the entire year) arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 272,612 at this point in 2016.

By International Organization for Migration
GENEVA, Aug 28 2018 (IOM)

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 67,122 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 26 August, with 27,994 to Spain, the leading destination this year. This compares with 123,205 (172,362 for the entire year) arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 272,612 at this point in 2016.

Spain, with 42 per cent of all arrivals through the year, continues to receive seaborne migrants in August at a volume more than twice that of Greece and more than four times that of Italy. Italy’s arrivals through late August are the lowest recorded at this point of a normally busy summer sailing season in almost five years (see chart below).

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 67,122 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 26 August, with 27,994 to Spain, the leading destination this year. This compares with 123,205 (172,362 for the entire year) arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 272,612 at this point in 2016.

 

IOM Rome on Monday reported that late Saturday, after a prolonged delay, all the migrants on the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti were allowed to disembark into Italy.

The 190 migrants (mostly Eritreans and Somalis) were rescued by the Diciotti on 15 August. However, the ship was permitted only the evacuation of 13 migrants (for medical reasons) before being ordered to wait at anchor off the coast of Lampedusa. That lasted five days, before the Diciotti’s crew received authorization to move their vessel to the port of Catania.

The remaining migrants then remained on board five additional days in the port of Catania, as Italian authorities were unable to authorize their landing – because the Italian authorities insisted they would not authorize disembarkation until there was an agreement to relocate them to other EU Member States.

Following several humanitarian appeals (both IOM and UNHCR asked the Italian Government to allow these migrants to disembark) only the minors were permitted to leave the ship by Thursday evening.

While an agreement was not reached at EU level, all the migrants ultimately were allowed to disembark on Saturday night, when the Italian Minister of Interior announced that 20 migrants will be relocated to Albania and 20 to Ireland, while 100 would be welcomed by the Vatican – within Italian territory, however, on property administered by the Holy See.

According to testimonies gathered by IOM staff from the minors who disembarked Thursday evening, the migrants – all malnourished and exhausted – reported having been arbitrarily detained for up to two years in Libya, where many of them had been beaten and tortured by smugglers and traffickers seeking ransom money from their families in their countries of origin. Moreover, Italian doctors who attended the women on the Diciotti reported that many of them had been raped while in Libya.

“Migrants arriving from Libya are often victims of violence, abuses and torture; their vulnerabilities should be timely and properly identified and addressed,” added Federico Soda, Director of IOM’s Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean and Chief of Mission for Italy and Malta.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has documented the deaths of 1,549 people on the Mediterranean in 2018. Most recently, in the Western Mediterranean, the Spanish Guardia Civil recovered the body of a young Sub-Saharan man near Alboran Island on 24 August. A merchant vessel had spotted his body, along with the body of another migrant, and had alerted Spanish authorities. A search operation is still underway to find the remains of the other migrant, which have not been located as of 27 August.

On 24 and 25 August, the remains of two individuals were recovered off the coast of Djerba in Tunisia. They are believed to have died in a shipwreck that took place on 20 August off the coast of Djerba. The current death toll from that shipwreck stands at eight dead and one missing. One survivor was rescued by the Tunisian National Guard.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 27,994 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 26 August (see chart below).

She further reported that starting Sunday (26 August) a new, temporary, Motril-based reception centre for foreigners has become operational. This centre can accommodate a total of 250 migrants. A similar reception centre – the first of its type – also became operational at the Port of Crinavis in San Roque on 2 August. Currently, the centre in San Roque remains the largest centre of this type in Spain with a total capacity of 450 persons.

Given the increase in arrivals, the Spanish authorities decided to activate these types of centres in order to speed up the identification process of the newly arrived migrants. The maximum duration of stay in these centres is limited to 72 hours, after which the migrants are transferred to various Humanitarian Assistance Reception Centres. Explained Dodevska: “The newly opened centers are only for the first identification process upon arrival. The Humanitarian ones are financed by the Ministry of Labour, Migrations and Social Security and all of them are managed by NGOs.”

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Global refugee resettlement: What do the statistics tell us?http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/global-refugee-resettlement-statistics-tell-us/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=global-refugee-resettlement-statistics-tell-us http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/global-refugee-resettlement-statistics-tell-us/#respond Mon, 27 Aug 2018 21:13:51 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157367 Resettlement has long been an important mechanism for refugee protection, and one that promotes international solidarity and durable solutions. In recent years and against a background of large-scale global displacement, the potential of resettlement to provide solutions for the worsening global refugee situation has been debated. The relationship between resettlement and territorial asylum as well as […]

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By International Organization for Migration
BERLIN, Aug 27 2018 (IOM)

Resettlement has long been an important mechanism for refugee protection, and one that promotes international solidarity and durable solutions. In recent years and against a background of large-scale global displacement, the potential of resettlement to provide solutions for the worsening global refugee situation has been debated.

The relationship between resettlement and territorial asylum as well as the potential of alternative forms of refugee intake, such as humanitarian admission or private sponsorship, have also been on the agenda – as illustrated in this infographic and discussed in a recent policy brief by the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration.

How many refugees benefit from resettlement each year? Which countries accept the largest numbers of resettled refugees?

These would seem to be straightforward questions with straightforward answers to them. But resettlement statistics harbour a number of uncertainties and pitfalls that are not immediately evident to most readers.

Read More

 

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Rohingya Crisis: One Year Onhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/rohingya-crisis-one-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rohingya-crisis-one-year http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/rohingya-crisis-one-year/#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 16:16:03 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157344 One year into a crisis that has seen over 700,000 refugees escape violence in Myanmar by fleeing into Bangladesh, the Rohingya once more stand on the verge of another disaster if more funding for the humanitarian response cannot be secured. The immense efforts of the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and its partners to support the […]

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Aid agencies have only received a third of the USD 951 million needed to support nearly a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh through year end. Photo: Muse Mohammed / IOM 2018

Aid agencies have only received a third of the USD 951 million needed to support nearly a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh through year end. Photo: Muse Mohammed / IOM 2018

By International Organization for Migration
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Aug 24 2018 (IOM)

One year into a crisis that has seen over 700,000 refugees escape violence in Myanmar by fleeing into Bangladesh, the Rohingya once more stand on the verge of another disaster if more funding for the humanitarian response cannot be secured.

The immense efforts of the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and its partners to support the Government of Bangladesh in the humanitarian response since the influx began a year ago are evident across what has become the largest refugee settlement in the world.

Almost a million Rohingya now live in Cox’s Bazar. From the early days of the crisis when thousands were crossing the border daily, sleeping under open skies, many injured and on the brink of starvation, conditions on the ground have improved immeasurably. All the refugees now have access to basic shelter, food and healthcare.

Intensive cooperative efforts to avert landslides – including work to prevent soil erosion, preparing ground to make it flatter and safer, emergency response planning, awareness raising and the relocation of more than 24,000 people most at risk – mean major tragedies have so far been avoided in the camps, despite the dangerous topography and extreme weather conditions.

But that does not mean danger has passed. Another cyclone season looms at the end of September and severe funding shortages threaten the delivery of vital services.

“The achievements of the past year have been remarkable,” said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. “This was the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world and the challenges have been immense. Countless lives have been saved thanks to the generosity of the Government of Bangladesh, the local community and donors, and the hard work of all those involved in the humanitarian response. But we now face the very real threat that if more funding is not urgently secured, lives will once again be at risk.”

Over 212,000 families – almost the entire refugee population – have now received shelter upgrade materials, with IOM providing shelter assistance to over 120,000 households.  Work is also ongoing to increase access to clean water and improve sanitation. IOM Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) teams have completed over 330 deep tube wells in the camps, with dozens more currently being installed.

Protection services are integral part of IOM’s response and over 23,000 extremely vulnerable people with protection needs have been identified since the crisis began. As lead agency in the fight against human trafficking in the camps, IOM is working with authorities and communities to tackle this growing threat to the refugee population.

Meeting the needs of the host community, which has also been impacted by the crisis, has also been central to the response. IOM is working with partner agencies on a range of longer-term initiatives to address environmental damage through alternative fuel provision, as well as reforestation projects that can provide work opportunities. Local farmers are being supported with machinery and seeds to help boost food production.

But as of now, the overall humanitarian response has just one third of the funding that it needs to see it through the end of the year.

“IOM medical staff this month logged half a million consultations since this crisis began. That shows you the level of need we are facing. But the stark reality is that without more support, such services are under threat,” said Gigauri.

“That will not just impact on those who need immediate medical treatment, but also on public health measures such as vaccination and outreach, without which the risk of large scale disease outbreaks will increase dramatically. Meanwhile, maintaining drainage and emptying latrines costs money. Without this we will see overflows leading to water contamination and the spread of disease.”

Gigauri stressed that in a humanitarian response of this scale, restrictions or cut backs to any one service would have a knock-on impact on the wider response.

“We must not underestimate the dangers the Rohingya refugees still face. One year on from the start of the crisis, they must not be forgotten,” he said. “These people have survived almost unimaginable suffering. The international community must not now turn its back and allow the Rohingya to be plunged into yet another tragedy.”

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel. 88 0 1733 335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int

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UNHCR and IOM Chiefs Call for More Support as the Outflow of Venezuelans Rises Across the Regionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/unhcr-iom-chiefs-call-support-outflow-venezuelans-rises-across-region/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unhcr-iom-chiefs-call-support-outflow-venezuelans-rises-across-region http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/unhcr-iom-chiefs-call-support-outflow-venezuelans-rises-across-region/#comments Thu, 23 Aug 2018 21:09:35 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157329 The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the Director General of the United Nations Migration Agency, IOM, William Lacy Swing appealed for greater support from the international community to the countries and communities in the region receiving a growing number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. With an estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans living […]

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IOM is supporting the relocation of Venezuelans from Boa Vista to Sao Paulo and Manaus, Brazil. Photo: IOM - UNHCR and IOM Chiefs Call for More Support as the Outflow of Venezuelans Rises Across the Region

IOM is supporting the relocation of Venezuelans from Boa Vista to Sao Paulo and Manaus, Brazil. Photo: IOM

By International Organization for Migration
GENEVA, Aug 23 2018 (IOM)

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the Director General of the United Nations Migration Agency, IOM, William Lacy Swing appealed for greater support from the international community to the countries and communities in the region receiving a growing number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. With an estimated 2.3 million Venezuelans living abroad, more than 1.6 million have left the country since 2015, 90 per cent of them to countries within South America.

Grandi and Swing commended States in the region for generously hosting Venezuelan nationals arriving at their borders. They nonetheless expressed concern over several recent developments affecting refugees and migrants from Venezuela. These include new passport and border entry requirements in Ecuador and Peru, as well as changes to the temporary stay permits for Venezuelans in Peru.

“We recognise the growing challenges associated with the large scale arrival of Venezuelans. It remains critical that any new measures continue to allow those in need of international protection to access safety and seek asylum,” stressed Grandi.

“We commend the efforts already made by receiving countries to provide Venezuelans with security, support and assistance. We trust that these demonstrations of solidarity will continue in the future,” said IOM´s Director General, Ambassador Swing, in Geneva Thursday.

Of particular concern are the most vulnerable—such as adolescent boys and girls, women, people trying to reunite with their families and unaccompanied and separated children who are unlikely to be able to meet documentation requirements and will therefore be placed at further risk of exploitation, trafficking and violence.

UNHCR, IOM, UN agencies and other partners are working in support of national responses by governments in the region to this complex human mobility and protection situation. This current situation underlines the urgent need to increase international engagement and solidarity in support of the governments’ response plans and addressing the most pressing humanitarian needs, in order to assure that those are met, safe transit is guaranteed and social and economic integration can be provided in line with larger development strategies.

Following the commitments of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, timely and predictable support by the international community is needed for fairer sharing of responsibilities and to complement the efforts of host countries.

Media contact details:

For IOM:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Juliana Quintero, IOM South America, Tel.  +54 11 48133330
Mobile. +54 11 32488134 QUINTERO Juliana juquintero@iom.int

For UNHCR:
In Geneva: Cécile Pouilly, pouilly@unhcr.org, +41 79 108 26 25
In Bogota Olga Sarrado Mur, sarrado@unhcr.org, +57 310 202 6029

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One year on, aid groups renew focus on hosts of protracted Rohingya crisishttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/one-year-aid-groups-renew-focus-hosts-protracted-rohingya-crisis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=one-year-aid-groups-renew-focus-hosts-protracted-rohingya-crisis http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/one-year-aid-groups-renew-focus-hosts-protracted-rohingya-crisis/#respond Wed, 22 Aug 2018 11:18:14 +0000 Kelli Rogers http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157313 Concrete replaces hand-dug mud steps zigzagging down steep hillsides. Sturdy bridges stretch over marshes, and a main road carves a bumpy path through once inaccessible zones. The mega-camp that sprawls across 6,000 acres of Bangladesh’s Ukhia region has changed greatly in the year since it became home to 700,000 additional Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and […]

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A view of Block D5 at the Kutupalong extension camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by: Tanvir Murad Topu / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

A view of Block D5 at the Kutupalong extension camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by: Tanvir Murad Topu / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

By Kelli Rogers
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Aug 22 2018 (IOM)

Concrete replaces hand-dug mud steps zigzagging down steep hillsides. Sturdy bridges stretch over marshes, and a main road carves a bumpy path through once inaccessible zones. The mega-camp that sprawls across 6,000 acres of Bangladesh’s Ukhia region has changed greatly in the year since it became home to 700,000 additional Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

For Rohingya and the aid groups that assist them, improved infrastructure and access represents hard-won progress. For the poor Bangladeshi communities on the camp’s fringes, it instills an alarming sense of permanence — one that could appear as support for Rohingya rather than their own families.

There are more than 100 projects underway targeting host communities, some of which were present before the mass arrival of Rohingya. Currently, 20,250 families receive livelihoods support, more than 25,000 participate in cash-for-work plans, and 2,150 families have received agriculture inputs training, according to the Inter Sector Coordination Group that oversees the Rohingya crisis response.

These numbers may mean little to hungry Bangladeshis, who watch trucks loaded with food and water turn from a road jammed with aid vehicles into Kutupalong camp: Away from them and toward their 1 million new neighbors.

Continue reading

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Cambodia: Land rights activist Tep Vanny released from prison following royal pardonhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/cambodia-land-rights-activist-tep-vanny-released-prison-following-royal-pardon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cambodia-land-rights-activist-tep-vanny-released-prison-following-royal-pardon http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/cambodia-land-rights-activist-tep-vanny-released-prison-following-royal-pardon/#respond Mon, 20 Aug 2018 21:03:47 +0000 Amnesty International http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157276 Responding to the news that human rights defender Tep Vanny has been released from prison following a royal pardon after more than 700 days in detention, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said: “After more than two years of being unjustly detained for her peaceful activism, the news that Tep Vanny is […]

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Cambodia: Land rights activist Tep Vanny released from prison following royal pardon

By Amnesty International
Aug 20 2018 (Amnesty International)

Responding to the news that human rights defender Tep Vanny has been released from prison following a royal pardon after more than 700 days in detention, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said:

“After more than two years of being unjustly detained for her peaceful activism, the news that Tep Vanny is once again reunited with her family is a cause for great celebration.

“However, her release is long overdue. Tep Vanny has endured a catalogue of injustice – from baseless, politically-motivated charges to unfair trials – and should never have been imprisoned in the first place.

“As well as allowing Tep Vanny to resume her activism without fear of further reprisals, Cambodia’s authorities must quash all convictions against her and halt any investigations into any other pending charges. Additionally, the many other human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience still languishing behind bars in the country must also be immediately and unconditionally released.”

 

Background

On 23 February 2017, Phnom Penh’s First Instance Court convicted Tep Vanny of “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances“, and sentenced her to two years and six months’ imprisonment.

The conviction was based on her peaceful participation in a March 2013 protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house, calling for the release of one of the arbitrarily detained Boeung Kak Lake Community members.

Tep Vanny was also ordered to pay a fine of five million Cambodian Riel (around USD 1,250), as well as a combined nine million riel in compensation payments to the two plaintiffs, both of whom are members of Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district para-police.

On 27 July 2017 and again on 7 February 2018, Phnom Penh’s Appeal court upheld both her conviction and prison sentence.

Amnesty International considered Tep Vanny a prisoner of conscience held solely for her peaceful human rights work. She was also part of the human rights organization’s global BRAVE campaign, with more than 200,000 people around the world joining a call for her release.

Public Document
****************************************
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Michael Parsons on:

+44 207 413 5696
email: Michael.Parsons@amnesty.org

Out of hours contact details
+44 20 7413 5566
email: press@amnesty.org
twitter: @amnestypress

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UN Agencies, Government Distribute LPG Stoves to Rohingya Refugees, Bangladeshi Villagers to Save Remaining Forestshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/un-agencies-government-distribute-lpg-stoves-rohingya-refugees-bangladeshi-villagers-save-remaining-forests/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-agencies-government-distribute-lpg-stoves-rohingya-refugees-bangladeshi-villagers-save-remaining-forests http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/un-agencies-government-distribute-lpg-stoves-rohingya-refugees-bangladeshi-villagers-save-remaining-forests/#respond Fri, 17 Aug 2018 12:09:44 +0000 International Organization for Migration http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157241 A major environmental project to provide around 250,000 families with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) stoves and gas cylinders has been launched by UN agencies and the government in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to help prevent further deforestation linked to the Rohingya refugee crisis. At the official launch of phase one of the project yesterday (16/08), over […]

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UN Agencies, Government Distribute LPG Stoves to Rohingya Refugees, Bangladeshi Villagers to Save Remaining Forests

UN agencies and Bangladesh government launch alternative fuel project in Cox’s Bazar to help reduce deforestation linked to Rohingya crisis. Photos: Patrick Shepherd FAO/IOM

By International Organization for Migration
Cox’s Bazar, Aug 17 2018 (IOM)

A major environmental project to provide around 250,000 families with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) stoves and gas cylinders has been launched by UN agencies and the government in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to help prevent further deforestation linked to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

At the official launch of phase one of the project yesterday (16/08), over 300 local villagers identified by local officials as extremely vulnerable and in need of support were the first to receive stove and gas sets. Thousands more will be distributed to Rohingya refugees and other host community families over the coming months.

The alternative fuel initiative is being organized by the UN Migration Agency (IOM), UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), working closely with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MODMR) and Commissioner for Refugee Repatriation and Relief (RRRC).

The launch was attended by senior Bangladeshi officials including Commissioner for Refugee Repatriation and Relief Mohammad Abul Kalam, Divisional Commissioner for Chittagong Mohammad Abdul Mannan, and Deputy Commissioner for Cox’s Bazar Mohammad Kamal Hossain.

Cox’s Bazar was home to significant areas of protected forest and an important wildlife habitat. But the arrival of over 700,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar over the past year led to massive deforestation as desperate families cut down trees and cleared land to make space for makeshift shelters.

With refugees and many local villagers almost entirely reliant on firewood for cooking, that damage has continued, and forest is being cleared at a rate of 700 metric tonnes – the equivalent of around four football fields of trees – each day. If cutting continues at the current rate, the area’s forest will be completely destroyed by the end of 2019, according to UN estimates.

“This is a vitally important project which will not only help mitigate and redress deforestation and environmental damage but will also play an important role in improving health and safety in the local and refugee communities,” said Sanjukta Sahany, head of IOM’s transition and recovery team in Cox’s Bazar.

Smoke from firewood being burned in homes and shelters without proper ventilation is a significant cause of health problems, particularly among women and young children, who spend much of their time indoors.

The reliance on firewood has also raised protection concerns, with most wood collection being carried out by children, who have had to venture further from homes to find wood, as the forest has been cut back. Competition for this increasingly rare resource is also a growing source of conflict between the refugees and local communities.

“By curbing the extraction of firewood from the remaining forests, it allows us to protect, re-enter and replant,” explained Peter Agnew, FAO’s emergency response coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. He noted that the alternative fuel project is part of the wider SAFE Plus project, which is designed to improve economic livelihoods for host communities, and in turn overall food security, as well as the resilience of the refugees, by empowering them through skills development.

“Over the next three years, several thousand people from the local and refugee communities will have livelihood opportunities working on forest rehabilitation with the SAFE Plus project, in coordination with the forestry department,” he said.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +8801733335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int

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Stopping Ebola in its Tracks with Point of Entry Screeninghttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/stopping-ebola-tracks-point-entry-screening/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stopping-ebola-tracks-point-entry-screening http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/stopping-ebola-tracks-point-entry-screening/#respond Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:02:04 +0000 IOM Democratic Republic of the Congo http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=157218 The mighty Congo River both connects Kinshasa with Equateur Province where an Ebola epidemic began in May 2018 and separates the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Congo-Brazzaville, hidden in the haze on the other bank. “Epidemiological surveillance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a massive challenge,” said Pierre Dimany while looking […]

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Stopping Ebola in its Tracks with Point of Entry Screening

A health officer on the outskirts of Itipo prepares to open a barrier for a motorbike driver who has undergone screening . Photo: IOM

By IOM Democratic Republic of the Congo
Aug 15 2018 (IOM)

The mighty Congo River both connects Kinshasa with Equateur Province where an Ebola epidemic began in May 2018 and separates the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Congo-Brazzaville, hidden in the haze on the other bank.

“Epidemiological surveillance in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a massive challenge,” said Pierre Dimany while looking out to the river. Pierre is the Kinshasa coordinator of the National Programme for Border Hygiene (PNHF), a partner of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the Ebola response.

On Tuesday 24 July, the country’s ninth epidemic was officially declared over, some two-and-a-half months after it began. In previous epidemics, cases were usually confined to remote areas in DRC’s vast rainforest, but this time around a total of four were reported in the Equateur provincial capital Mbandaka. This sparked fears that the fever, which often kills in a matter of days, would take hold of the city and work its way downstream to Kinshasa, where an estimated 12 million people live.

“We were all scared,” admitted Djo Ipaso Yoka, a young teacher recruited to carry out screenings at a post in Mbandaka at one of the points of entry to Wendji Secli motorbike taxi park.

The epidemic started in two health zones deep in the equatorial forest, Bikoro and Iboko. The first victim, a health worker, had treated an old woman, who had come into a village from the forest because she was sick. From there the virus spread to Mbandaka in Bikoro health zone.

Although the epidemic in Equateur was declared over, the country is constantly threatened by outbreaks. A new epidemic, the tenth in the DRC, was declared just days after the end of the Equateur outbreak. This latest medical emergency has sparked grave concern, as it is occurring in the east of the country close to a town with road links into neighbouring Uganda.

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Pompeo in Talks with Blacklisted North Korean Official in New Yorkhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/06/pompeo-talks-blacklisted-north-korean-official-new-york/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pompeo-talks-blacklisted-north-korean-official-new-york http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/06/pompeo-talks-blacklisted-north-korean-official-new-york/#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 09:52:04 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156336 A rare closed-door meeting between the United States and North Korea was described as a major breakthrough—the first time in nearly two decades. The venue for the meeting was, not surprisingly, New York City which hosts the Permanent Mission of North Korea to the United Nations, the only official presence of the heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang regime […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Jun 1 2018 (IPS)

A rare closed-door meeting between the United States and North Korea was described as a major breakthrough—the first time in nearly two decades.

The venue for the meeting was, not surprisingly, New York City which hosts the Permanent Mission of North Korea to the United Nations, the only official presence of the heavily-sanctioned Pyongyang regime in the United States.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with General Kim Yong Chol, the highest ranking North Korean official to visit the US in 18 years, who is also described as the “right-hand man” of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The meeting was in advance of the upcoming summit meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump scheduled to take place in Singapore June 11-12.

Prior to the talks in New York, the Trump administration issued a waiver for General Kim to travel to the US since the Obama administration had blacklisted him back in 2010 for his role as the head of North Korean intelligence agency.

The agency had been castigated for its secretive role in supplying conventional weapons to countries such as Syria in defiance of UN sanctions.

General Kim refused to respond to questions from the press as he left the residence of the deputy permanent representative of the United States to the UN, where he and his delegation were hosted for dinner.

After the bilateral talks, Pompeo told reporters: “I believe they are contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that the country had not been prepared to make before. And they will have to choose”

With Singapore summit still up in the air, a senior State Department official was quoted as saying: “The president can make a fly or no-fly decision any time he wants to.”

 

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Movie Mogul Arraigned on Charges of Sexual Abusehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/05/movie-mogul-arraigned-charges-sexual-abuse/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=movie-mogul-arraigned-charges-sexual-abuse http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/05/movie-mogul-arraigned-charges-sexual-abuse/#respond Mon, 28 May 2018 09:54:13 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156337 When Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrived for his arraignment on charges of sexual abuse, there were hordes of photographers and reporters waiting for him outside the New York Supreme Court.   But this time the scenario was different for a celebrity movie producer who was surrendering to authorities after scores of women, including several […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, May 28 2018 (IPS)

When Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrived for his arraignment on charges of sexual abuse, there were hordes of photographers and reporters waiting for him outside the New York Supreme Court.  

But this time the scenario was different for a celebrity movie producer who was surrendering to authorities after scores of women, including several A-list actresses and fashion models, accused him of sexual misconduct, including first and second degree rape.

Benjamin Brafman, one of the best known lawyers in town, who was defending Weinstein, said in a statement to the media on Friday: “Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in non-consensual sexual behavior with anyone. Nothing about today’s proceedings changes Mr. Weinstein’s position. He has entered a plea of not guilty and fully expects to be exonerated.”

The arraignment came about seven months after both the New Yorker and the New York Times published damning investigative reports detailing some of Weinstein’s sexual encounters in hotel rooms and Hollywood offices. Weinstein has vehemently denied the charges and said all his sexual encounters were “consensual”.

The charges followed a joint investigation by the police and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The allegations became a driving force in the #MeToo movement  against sexual harassment, which also triggered a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual misconduct at the United Nations.

At the hearing, Weinstein had to surrender his passport and was released on a $1 million bail. He was barred from travelling beyond New York and Connecticut and his movements will be monitored electronically.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Brafman said: “Under the circumstances, he’s holding up reasonably well. No one can be happy to be in the position that he is in.”

“As terrible a crime as rape is, it is equally reprehensible to be falsely accused of rape, and since Mr. Weinstein has denied these allegations, that’s where we are,” he added.

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Women’s March Focuses on Gender Equality & Minority Rightshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/womens-march-focuses-gender-equality-minority-rights/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=womens-march-focuses-gender-equality-minority-rights http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/01/womens-march-focuses-gender-equality-minority-rights/#respond Sun, 21 Jan 2018 09:13:11 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156283 The one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March in Washington was commemorated in mid-town Manhattan yesterday where thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of New York protesting the policies of the Trump administration—focusing specifically on gender empowerment, women’s rights, diversity, migrants, people of color, and gay and lesbian rights, in what is described as […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Jan 21 2018 (IPS)

The one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March in Washington was commemorated in mid-town Manhattan yesterday where thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of New York protesting the policies of the Trump administration—focusing specifically on gender empowerment, women’s rights, diversity, migrants, people of color, and gay and lesbian rights, in what is described as an increasingly polarized American society.

The slogans, which captured the political mood of the demonstrators, were strikingly feminist: “God is Coming & She is Pissed off”, “Equal Rights are Human Rights,” “Nasty Women Unite”, and “I will not Go Quietly”.

The marchers, spread over 20-25 blocks, were noisy but not unruly as hundreds of New York City police officers provided security, with demonstrators gathering at Central Park West. The march was organized by the Women’s March Alliance.

Katherine Siemionko, the founder of the Alliance and lead organizer of the New York City march, said: “Our goal is to unite people all over the world in the fight for human rights. Women’s March Alliance is honored to be one of the leaders in this effort and we’re excited – but not surprised – that New Yorkers have already come out and committed themselves to leading the effort”.

She said there will be marches happening all over the world on January 20th and 21st – and there will surely be another record-setting #weekendofwomen.”

Rosie Perez, actress and feminist activist, told the crowd: “We are going to keep the pressure on. Thank you to the women who came forward…who called out Mr. Weinstein and brought him down. We need to do the same for Trump.”

Last year’s protests were triggered by the election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President and took place on Jan. 21, the day after his inauguration. This year’s “weekend of women” is expected to include about 250 similar marches worldwide.

This is the second Women’s March in NYC. The first march last year drew an estimated 400,000 people.

The Alliance, which is independent from the Women’s March group in Washington D.C. march, is a nonprofit created in January 2017 and “whose mission is to raise women’s voices through education and activism.”  Besides the march, the group hosts educational workshops, training sessions, nonpartisan events, and festivals.

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Bronx Fire Deadliest in Over 25 Years, Says Mayorhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/bronx-fire-deadliest-25-years-says-mayor/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bronx-fire-deadliest-25-years-says-mayor http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/bronx-fire-deadliest-25-years-says-mayor/#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 09:16:03 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156284 A major fire, fueled by strong winds on a frigid night, killed at least 12 people in a Bronx building, inhabited mostly with migrants from West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro described the fire as “historic,” since it was one of the deadliest fires in the city […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Dec 29 2017 (IPS)

A major fire, fueled by strong winds on a frigid night, killed at least 12 people in a Bronx building, inhabited mostly with migrants from West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro described the fire as “historic,” since it was one of the deadliest fires in the city in more than a quarter century.

Addressing reporters, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that besides the 12 deaths, four were critically injured and two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Amongst the dead was a one year old child.

“Tonight in the Bronx we’ve seen the worst fire tragedy in at least a quarter of a century,’’ the mayor said. “It is unspeakable, and families have been torn apart.”

The building, constructed of plaster and brick and built in 1916, was not fireproof, according to property records. The blaze was raised to a five-alarm status, involving more than 160 fire fighters.

Commissioner Nigro said that City records indicated the building had six open violations, including one for a defective smoke detector on the first floor, where the fire began.

While the American Red Cross responded with blankets, the nearby Grace H. Dodge vocational high school was turned into a reception center for people who needed housing and other services.

The last deadly fire took place at the Happy Land social club in New York city which killed 87 people back in 1990. An arsonist, Julio Gonzalez, used $1 worth of gasoline to set fire to the club, after a bouncer booted him following a spat with an ex-girlfriend. He died in prison on Sept. 13, 2016.

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Police Tighten Surveillance to Thwart Terrorist Attacks on Cityhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/police-tighten-surveillance-thwart-terrorist-attacks-city/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=police-tighten-surveillance-thwart-terrorist-attacks-city http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/12/police-tighten-surveillance-thwart-terrorist-attacks-city/#respond Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:11:53 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156150 A Bangladesh immigrant, 27 year-old Akayed Ullah, set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a crowded passageway at a Times Square subway station yesterday. The explosive failed to detonate but burnt him and injured three others causing panic during the morning rush hour in the heart of the city. At a news […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Dec 12 2017 (IPS)

A Bangladesh immigrant, 27 year-old Akayed Ullah, set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a crowded passageway at a Times Square subway station yesterday. The explosive failed to detonate but burnt him and injured three others causing panic during the morning rush hour in the heart of the city.

At a news conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters: “This was an attempted terrorist attack’, pointing out that “terrorists yearn to attack New York City.”

But that target may be increasingly difficult due to stepped up Police surveillance and unprecedented security measures to thwart future attacks.

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters the suspect had “an improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body”

But in the fight against domestic terrorism, experts believe that the biggest single challenge facing New York City is “lone wolf” attacks by terrorists acting individually –and with no known ties to groups overseas.

The pipe bomb followed an attack in October when, Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan rammed a rented truck along a lower Manhattan bike bath killing eight and injuring 12. He was known to have been “radicalized” while living in the US and had not ties to terror groups.

In September 2016, a New Jersey man was convicted of planting bombs in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. The attack with home-made bombs injured dozens of people.

All three have been described as “lone wolf” attacks on an unsuspecting public.

In a television interview, John Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, said preventing lone wolf attacks “is very difficult and getting harder.”

The NYPD’s monitoring of potential attackers has generated civil rights law suits, including charges of “illegal surveillance of Muslims” living in the city.

After the October attack, Miller said Saipov “appears to have followed almost exactly to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels”.

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US Woman Cracks Africa’s Dominance in New York City Marathonhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/us-woman-cracks-africas-dominance-new-york-city-marathon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=us-woman-cracks-africas-dominance-new-york-city-marathon http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/11/us-woman-cracks-africas-dominance-new-york-city-marathon/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 16:15:54 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156151 With an estimated two million people lining up the streets, the annual New York City Marathon ended on a predictable note: the Africans dominated one of the most popular events testing the endurance of over 50,000 athletes from more than 125 countries in a 26.2 mile run through the city’s five boroughs—- Staten Island, Brooklyn, […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Nov 6 2017 (IPS)

With an estimated two million people lining up the streets, the annual New York City Marathon ended on a predictable note: the Africans dominated one of the most popular events testing the endurance of over 50,000 athletes from more than 125 countries in a 26.2 mile run through the city’s five boroughs—- Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan.

But this year, there was one remarkable exception: the women’s race was won by 36 year-old Shane Flanagan, the first American woman to do so since Miki Gorman back in 1977. She completed the course in 2 hours and 26 minutes.

The first three to reach the finishing line in the men’s event were all from Africa: Geoffrey Kamworor (Kenya) followed by his country man Wilson Kipsang (Kenya), who won the marathon in 2014,  and Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) finishing third.

In the womens’ event, Flanagan was followed by Mary Keitany (Kenya), the reigning champion for the last three years, and Mamitu Daska (US).

At the conclusion of the event, Flanagan told reporters: ”What I know 100 percent is that we are a very resilient nation and I don’t know that there are tougher people than New Yorkers.”

She was one of the runners in the ill-fated 2013 Boston marathon which came under a terrorist attack.

Described as one of the biggest gathering since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the New York City marathon took place under tight security and in the shadow of an attack last month in lower Manhattan that killed eight people and injured and dozen more.

With reports of rising terror attacks on the streets of France, Belgium and Germany, the New York Police Department provided an extensive security cover – ensuring an incident-free event.

At a press conference before the marathon, NYPD officials said there would be additional security measures, including sand trucks to block intruders and sniper teams in rooftop locations.

Referring to the increased number of police officers, Carlos Gomez, chief of the department, said: “It will be the most deployed at this event.

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UN to be in Lock Down Mode For Meeting of World Leadershttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/09/un-lock-mode-meeting-world-leaders/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-lock-mode-meeting-world-leaders http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/09/un-lock-mode-meeting-world-leaders/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:18:03 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=156233 President Donald Trump’s appearance before the UN General Assembly next week will be accompanied by tight security measures by local and federal law enforcement agencies, including the New York Police Department (NYPD), the US Secret Service and UN Security. The 72nd session of the General Assembly, which will be attended by over 150 world leaders, […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Sep 14 2017 (IPS)

President Donald Trump’s appearance before the UN General Assembly next week will be accompanied by tight security measures by local and federal law enforcement agencies, including the New York Police Department (NYPD), the US Secret Service and UN Security.

The security measures will include road closures, rooftop snipers and heavy concrete barriers to thwart the entry of any vehicles that could be used in terrorist attacks
The 72nd session of the General Assembly, which will be attended by over 150 world leaders, will be a “first” both for Trump and for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a former Prime Minister of Portugal, who took office in January 2017.

The security measures will include road closures, rooftop snipers and heavy concrete barriers to thwart the entry of any vehicles that could be used in terrorist attacks. The UN will be in a lock down mode – and will continue to be so until all of the world leaders leave town by end September.

According to the NYPD, thousands of police officers will be deployed outside the UN perimeter—and residents in the neighborhood will be checked and double-checked before they are permitted to cross from Second to First Avenue. So will UN delegates, staffers and journalist, even with valid UN passes.

All UN retirees, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and visitors, however, will be banned from the UN neighborhood even if they are armed with passes. And the UN precincts will be a restricted security zone.

The Police is also expecting anti-Trump protestors in the city—along with a march to combat “white supremacy” that will begin outside the Grand Central Terminal.

A left-wing group Code Pink has organized a march to protest Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Among other planned protests will be a rally against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, mostly by Iranian dissidents in the US.

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New York City Rejects Singling Out Muslims for Surveillancehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2016/03/new-york-city-rejects-singling-out-muslims-for-surveillance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-york-city-rejects-singling-out-muslims-for-surveillance http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/03/new-york-city-rejects-singling-out-muslims-for-surveillance/#respond Fri, 25 Mar 2016 19:28:27 +0000 Thalif Deen http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=144383 With the rise in terrorist attacks in Europe, the Muslim community in New York City is fast becoming the centre of attention in the US presidential campaign currently underway. But the city’s Police Commissioner William Bratton strongly denounced a statement attributed to Republican Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who called on the police […]

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By Thalif Deen
NEW YORK, Mar 25 2016 (IPS)

With the rise in terrorist attacks in Europe, the Muslim community in New York City is fast becoming the centre of attention in the US presidential campaign currently underway.

But the city’s Police Commissioner William Bratton strongly denounced a statement attributed to Republican Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who called on the police to “patrol and secure” Muslim communities.

Addressing a press conference, Bratton told reporters that Cruz was “out of line” and unfit for the White House and pointed out there were 900 Muslim members in the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Bratton’s comments were backed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who shared the stage with the Police Commissioner as they faced reporters.

Currently, there are over 600,000 Muslims in a city with a population of more than 8.5 million people. New York is considered one of America’s most culturally and religiously diverse cities.

The political rhetoric against Muslims – erroneously perceived as being potential terrorists or sympathizers with global terrorism – has been rising in the current presidential campaign with the Republican front runner Donald Trump calling for a temporary halt to all Muslim visitors entering the US.

Referring to Cruz’s comments, Bratton told reporters: “He doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about, to be frank with you.” “While he’s running around here, he probably has some Muslim officers guarding him.”

“If he’s that short-sighted, I can understand why the American public would repudiate his efforts to run this great country,” said Bratton. “You’ve got to be careful when you paint with a broad brush, because you tend to spill some of that paint on yourself,” he warned.

NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller, who is in charge of counter-terrorism, said the call for “patrol and secure” had a sub-text: “occupy and intimidate”.

He said the NYPD has more than 15,000 in its Counter-Terrorism task force and has no plans to intrude into Muslim communities in violation of their civil rights.

Miller said the NYPD has been sending investigate teams to France, Belgium and Tunisia following several terrorist attacks in these countries.

The current rhetoric, he said, is reminiscent of the internment of over 110,000 Japanese-Americans in 1942 (after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour) and the “red scare” of Communism during the McCarthy era in the 1950s when thousands of Americans were falsely accused of being Communists and a threat to the United States.

Bratton said New York City has, without a doubt, the most effective and extensive counterterrorism capacity of any city in this country — and virtually any city in the world.

These, he said, include: the Joint-Terrorism Task Force, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Critical Response Command, deploying more than 500 highly trained and thoroughly equipped officers to critical sites and potential targets; the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau, which encompasses both the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Critical Response Command, including a 40-officer bomb squad; a 150-officer World Trade Center Command; radiological detection water vessels and aircraft; the NYPD Intelligence Bureau; and the NYPD Domain Awareness System consisting of one of the most sophisticated networks of cameras, license plate readers and radiological censors in the world.

(End)

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