UNHCR calls for mechanism to share migrant burden

United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi attends a press conference on September 10, 2018 in Geneva after his UNHCR/OCHA joint mission visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan. (AFP)
Updated 15 September 2018
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UNHCR calls for mechanism to share migrant burden

  • Between 80 and 90 percent of the estimated 68 million refugees globally according to UNHCR figures were “in poor countries or have few resources

ROME: Outgoing UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi has appealed for the creation of a clear mechanism for European states to share the burden of migrants rescued at sea rather than work on a case by case basis.
Those arriving “must be shared around Europe. There must be a foreseeable mechanism. We cannot deal on a boat-by-boat basis,” the UN refugee chief told a news conference after two days of talks with authorities in his native Italy.
Italy has closed its ports to NGOs rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean and has been increasingly reluctant to take in those brought to shore in its own vessels, making reception conditional on those brought to shore being offloaded to other EU states.
“We are not talking about incredible figures — if Libya can deal with a million refugees then Europe can manage a few tens of thousands,” Grandi said.
He added that between 80 and 90 percent of the estimated 68 million refugees globally according to UNHCR figures were “in poor countries or have few resources.”
Grandi added that Europe faced a “long battle” in reaching common ground on how to deal with the migrant issue but should cooperate in so far as possible and use the expected drop in numbers over the winter to draw up a coherent strategy.
In the meantime he added that the priority should be ensuring migrants reached the “nearest safe port.”
That could not, he stressed, be Libya given that conditions in some reception camps there were “abominable, unacceptable.”
Grandi said he was also concerned at the lack of rescue boats of Libya, be they humanitarian or military which meant not just less people brought ashore but also “more deaths.”
Grandi further warned against politicians using intemperate language when discussing the migrant issue, urging that “the language of politics must not a create a space for abuse and violence of a racist character.”
On Monday, new UN rights head Michelle Bachelet announced a new team would be heading to Italy to monitor “a signalled strong increase” in racist violence, something which Italy’s far right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini denied.
Salvini said that Italy had in recent years accepted 700,000 immigrants, “including many illegals, and never got any help from other European countries.”


Pakistan PM Imran Khan lashes out at Trump “tirade“

Updated 19 November 2018
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Pakistan PM Imran Khan lashes out at Trump “tirade“

  • Trump, during an interview with Fox News, defended cutting aid to Islamabad and suggested Pakistani authorities knew Osama bin Laden’s location prior to his killing
  • Khan said in a series of tweets that “record needs to be put straight on Mr.Trump’s tirade against Pakistan”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday lashed out at US President Donald Trump following his remarks that Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the United States despite billions of dollars in US aid for the South Asian nation.
The friction threatens to further worsen already fragile relations between Islamabad and Washington, on-off allies who have repeatedly clashed about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s alleged support for Islamist militants.
Khan, who assumed power in August and is known for his fiery anti-American rhetoric, said in a series of tweets that “record needs to be put straight on Mr.Trump’s tirade against Pakistan” over the weekend.
Trump, during a Fox News TV interview aired on Sunday, defended cutting aid to Islamabad and also suggested Pakistani authorities knew Osama bin Laden’s location prior to his killing by US troops in a raid inside Pakistan in 2011.
Pakistan denies supporting Afghan Taliban insurgents waging war against US-backed troops in Afghanistan and Islamabad has also always rejected claims officials aided former Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden.
“Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140000 NATO troops plus 250,000 Afghan troops & reportedly $1 trillion spent on war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before,” Khan tweeted.
Trump, in a pre-recorded interview, said bin Laden had been living in “a nice mansion” in Pakistan next to a military academy and “everybody in Pakistan knew he was there.”
“And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year. ...(bin Laden) lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Khan said Pakistan had borne the brunt of the United States’ war on terror, which focused on militants that straddle the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal belt.
“No Pakistani was involved in 9/11 but Pak decided to participate in US War on Terror,” Khan said. “Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US “aid” was a minuscule $20 bn.”
Khan also pointed out that Pakistan continued to provide its roads and air space for the re-supply for more than 10,000 US troops currently based in Afghanistan.
“Can Mr.Trump name another ally that gave such sacrifices?”