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WORLDWIDE DISPLACEMENT TOPS 70 MILLION, UN REFUGEE CHIEF URGES GREATER SOLIDARITY IN RESPONSE

19 June 2019

The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has seen in its almost 70 years.

Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released today, shows that almost 70.8 million people are now forcibly displaced. To put this in perspective, this is double the level of 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.

https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/6/5d03b22b4/worldwide-displacement-tops-70-million-un-refugee-chief-urges-greater-solidarity.html

UNHCR AND IOM JOINT STATEMENT: INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS IN LIBYA MUST CHANGE

11 July 2019

Geneva – On 3 July, more than 50 refugees and migrants lost their lives in an airstrike on the Tajoura Detention Centre in the east of Libya’s Tripoli. This week, we appealed to the European Union and African Union to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. The international community should consider the protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees a core element of its engagement in Libya.

As a priority we ask that 5,600 refugees and migrants currently held in centres across Libya be freed in an orderly manner and their protection guaranteed, or evacuated to other countries from where accelerated resettlement is needed. For this, countries must step forward with more evacuation and resettlement places. In addition, migrants wishing to return to their countries of origin should continue to be able to do so. Extra resources are equally essential.

https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/7/5d2765d04/unhcr-iom-joint-statement-international-approach-refugees-migrants-libya.html

SOS MEDITERRANEE SAYS WILL NOT FORCE ENTRY ITALY PORTS, NO TO LIBYA

24 July 2019

he organization SOS Mediterranee has said that it is back at sea due to a lack of EU migrant rescue initiatives. It underscored that it will not force entry into Italian territorial waters but that it will also not take migrants back to Libya.

Louise Guillaumat, deputy director SOS Mediterranee operations, said at a press conference that the organization would not be forcing its way into Italian territorial waters but that it refuses to take people back to Libya out of respect for international sea law. 


'Returning to sea after a lack of EU initiatives' 


Sophie Beau, cofounder of the French organization SOS Mediterranee, held a press conference in Paris on Monday to announce that the ship Ocean Viking would return to the Mediterranean Sea for migrant search and rescue operations, as the ship Aquarius has been blocked in the port of Marseille since last year. 

''The prolonged absence of initiatives on the part of European states to create a lasting, shared, and predictable rescue mechanism forces civil society, through SOS Mediterranee, to return to sea to save lives," Beau said. "Today more than ever, we are calling on the help of European citizens so that they can aid us in our rescue missions," she said. 


SOS Mediterranee works in partnership with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). 


Minister Salvini criticizes new ship 


Since Thursday, the French NGOs SOS Mediterranee and MSF have been back at sea with a new ship, the Ocean Viking, to resume search and rescue (SAR) operations near the Libyan coast. The two were engaged in such operations with the Aquarius unit 2018. The Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking has a 13-member crew including 13 rescue workers from the SOS Mediterranee and 9 from MSF. Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini criticized the move, saying that ''now they are even leaving from northern seas to come help the traffickers in the Mediterranean."

https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/18364/sos-mediterranee-says-will-not-force-entry-italy-ports-no-to-libya

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