UN says Libyans must allow return of stranded Tawergha group

Displaced women from the Libyan town of Tawergha, 260 km east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, are seen at a temporary camp, 20 km from Tawergha, after they were denied entry to their hometown: (Mahmud Turkia/ AFP)
Updated 21 February 2018

UN says Libyans must allow return of stranded Tawergha group

CAIRO: A UN human rights expert is urging Libyan authorities to ensure the safety of hundreds of former residents of the northern town of Tawergha, “who are stranded and even dying in the desert despite an agreement allowing their safe return.”
The group, mostly dark-skinned Libyans who were due to return on Feb. 1 under an agreement with the neighboring city of Misrata, have been barred from entry and harassed by militias.
The entire population of around 40,000 people was forcibly evacuated in 2011 as collective punishment for their perceived support for deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi.
Special Rapporteur Cecilia Jimenez-Damary says in a Tuesday statement she was “appalled” at the situation, in which “two men have died already following strokes, possibly as a result of the harsh weather conditions.”


New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

Updated 08 July 2020

New board of directors appointed to run Lebanon’s ‘corrupt’ state power company

  • Regulation of electricity sector a key condition of international bailout for collapsing economy

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s government finally appointed a new board of directors on Tuesday to control the state-owned electricity company.
Electricite du Liban (EDL) has long been mired in allegations of corruption and fraud. Its annual losses of up to $2 billion a year are the biggest single drain on state finances as Lebanon faces economic collapse and the plunging value of its currency.
Reform of the electricity sector has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and potential donor states before they will consider a financial bailout.
“Lebanon’s electricity policy has been inefficient and ineffective for decades — always on the brink of collapse, but staying afloat with last minute patchwork solutions,” said Kareem Chehayeb of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC.
“The economic crisis has made fuel imports more expensive, causing a shortage, with external generator providers hiking their prices or seeking business in Syria. It is a wake-up call to decades of overspending and poor planning of a basic public service.”
The World Bank has described the electricity sector in Lebanon as “tainted with corruption and waste,” and the IMF said “canceling the subsidy to electricity is the most important potential saving in spending.”
Electricity rationing was applied for the first time to hospitals and the law courts, but Minister of Energy Raymond Ghajar said: “The first vessel loaded with diesel for power plants has arrived, and as of Wednesday the power supply will improve.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised the Lebanese people on Tuesday that they would see the results of government efforts to resolve the country’s financial chaos “in the coming weeks.”
Addressing a Cabinet meeting, Diab said: “The glimmer of hope is growing.” However, the appointment of an  EDF board of directors was criticized by opposition politicians. Former prime minister Najib Mikati said the appointments meant “the crime of wrong prevailing over right … is being repeated.”