400 African migrants arrive on Italian island

Updated 15 December 2012
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400 African migrants arrive on Italian island

ROME: Two boats carrying more than 400 African migrants arrived on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday, the latest in a wave of thousands of undocumented migrants arriving from North African shores.
The boats were intercepted overnight by Italian coast guards in open sea south of the rocky outcrop, which is closer to Africa than to the Italian mainland.
The first boat carried 218 sub-Saharan migrants including seven women. The second boat, which was some 20 meters (66 feet) long, had around 220 people including 20 women, Italian news agency ANSA reported, citing the coast guard.
Most of the recent Lampedusa arrivals have been on boats coming from Libya.
Migrants are usually taken to a small facility on Lampedusa and then to centers for asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants in other parts of Italy.
The charity Save the Children on Thursday said the situation was “chaotic,” with 722 migrants still on the island including 102 women and 15 unaccompanied minors, and urged the government to transfer them to better accommodation.
Tens of thousands of migrants landed on Italian shores last year in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings. Thousands more have arrived this year despite Italy’s calls for Tunisia and Libya to step up their maritime border controls.
Hundreds have died over the past two years in the perilous Mediterranean crossings, when their heavily overcrowded dinghies and fishing boats capsized or sank in stormy weather or were cast adrift due to engine failure.


Bangladesh declares zero tolerance against drug dealers

Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) soldiers during a raid on suspected drug dealers at Mohammadpur Geneva Camp in Dhaka Saturday. (AP)
Updated 27 May 2018
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Bangladesh declares zero tolerance against drug dealers

  • Law enforcers have so far arrested 3,000 drug dealers, while 23 drug peddlers were killed during “gunfights” while they were being captured.
  • Human rights activists and the country’s largest opposition party the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have criticized the “gunfight” incidents as a “violation of human rights.”

DHAKA: Bangladesh has declared a war on drugs throughout the country. In the past 12 days around 84 alleged drug dealers were killed during gunfights with the law-enforcing agencies.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the anti-narcotic drive in early May.

Human rights activists and the country’s largest opposition party the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have criticized the “gunfight” incidents as a “violation of human rights.”

On early Sunday, 11 drug dealers were killed in separate gunfight incidents throughout the country. Among the dead was a ruling party leader who was a city councilor in Cox’s Bazar City.

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a paramilitary law-enforcing agency, started its anti-narcotic movement on May 4. And it has so far arrested 3,000 drug dealers, while 23 drug peddlers were killed during “gunfights” while they were being captured.

Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, spokesperson of the RAB, told Arab News: “There is no question of violation of human rights in our ongoing war against drugs.”

He said that when the RAB captured any armed person or group generally some shootout incidents took place. And, he claimed, it also happens in the US and other developed countries. “We arrest the drug dealers based on intel information and later on they are produced to the court.”

Bangladesh Police started its all-out operation against drugs on May 15, and police headquarters has directed all its units to start countrywide operations against dealers.

Mohammad Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said: “Our anti-narcotic operations will continue till the situations come down to a tolerant level.” He said the only objective of this operation was to bring down the usage level of narcotics in society.

Justifying the anti-drug movement, Masudur added: “We only arrest the persons with whom we get drugs. And we will continue this movement for an indefinite period.”

Obaidul Quader, general secretary of ruling party Bangladesh Awami League, said: “Any drug trader, irrespective of party, won’t be spared if accusations become true.

“The countrymen have amicably welcomed the law enforcement agencies’ drives against narcotics. Only those with evil political intentions are criticizing the crackdown,” Quader told local media on Saturday.

But Advocate Asadujjaman, human rights secretary of the BNP, claimed that in many areas of the country their supporters and leaders were arrested in the name of the anti-drug movement.

He added: “Any kind of extrajudicial killing is unconstitutional, illegal, inhuman and a violation of human rights of international standard. It shows that the government is not showing any respect to protect the basic rights of the people as stated in the Constitution.”

The country’s human rights group is also criticizing the killings. Nur Khan, renowned human rights activist and adviser of the Human Rights Support Society, demanded an investigation into every extrajudicial killing through a neutral and credible Investigation Commission.

Nur said: “This type of extrajudicial killing will establish the culture of absence of justice in the society. People will get frightened due to this situation.”