40 children killed in year of Gaza border protests: UNICEF

Bullet and shrapnel holes cover a wall as children fly kites in Gaza City, February 12, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 28 March 2019

40 children killed in year of Gaza border protests: UNICEF

  • Around 40 children have been killed in the protests and “nearly 3,000 others have been hospitalized with injuries

AMMAN: Around 40 children have been killed and many injured in one year of demonstrations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the UN said Thursday, calling for an “urgent de-escalation.”
Thousands of Palestinians have gathered at least weekly along the border in protests that have led to deadly clashes with the Israeli military.
Demonstrators are calling for Israel to lift its crippling decade-long blockade of Gaza, while also demanding refugees be allowed to return to homes their families fled in the late 1940s during the creation of the Jewish state.
Around 40 children have been killed in the protests and “nearly 3,000 others have been hospitalized with injuries, many leading to life-long disabilities,” the UN children’s agency (UNICEF) said.
“UNICEF reiterates its outrage at the very high numbers of children who have been killed and injured as a result of armed conflict 2018,” said UNICEF’s Middle East director Geert Cappelaere.
He called on both sides to “ensure children are not targeted.”
“Exploiting children’s lack of sense of purpose and vulnerabilities or enlisting them into violence are violations of children’s rights.”
In total, 258 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since the protests began, most during border clashes.
Two Israeli soldiers have also been killed over the same period.
Israel says its response is necessary to defend the border and accuses Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars, of orchestrating violence there.
The UNICEF statement follows another severe flare-up this week between Hamas and Israel, with a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip that sparked retaliatory air strikes.
A mass border protest planned for Saturday to mark the first anniversary of the demonstrations has raised fears of further tensions.


Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

Updated 14 November 2019

Bangladeshi migrants to be repatriated from Libya

DHAKA: One hundred and seventy-one Bangladeshi migrants are waiting to be repatriated from two detention centers in Libya after being rescued from the Mediterranean coast on Oct. 30 as they tried to make their way into Europe, officials told Arab News on Wednesday. 

In all, 200 migrants were rescued during the operation.

“The registration process of all the Bangladeshi migrants has been completed and we are expecting to start the repatriation by the end of November,” ASM Ashraful Islam, councilor at the Bangladesh embassy in Libya, said.

He added that, due to the ongoing war in Libya, airports in Tripoli remain non-operational. The Bangladeshi migrants will fly from Misrata airport, 300 kilometers away.

“There are frequent incidents of bombardment and long-range missile strikes (at Tripoli airport),” Islam explained. He said no international airline was currently willing to fly from Libya to Bangladesh, so the embassy intends to charter a flight to repatriate the migrants.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will bear the expenses for the rescued Bangladeshis, who are currently being held at detention centers in Zanzur and Abu Salim, he said, adding, “Bangladesh mission staffers in Tripoli are in constant touch with the returnees and providing necessary food and other assistance for them.”

In recent years, human traffickers have used Libya as a gateway through which to send illegal migrants to Italy and other European countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency — Frontex — around 30,000 Bangladeshi migrants have been arrested while trying to enter Europe in the last decade. The organization said that, in recent years, Bangladesh is one of the countries from which the most illegal migrants have tried to enter Europe. The IOM has facilitated the repatriation of Bangladeshi citizens from Libya in the past — 924 in 2017, 307 in 2016, and 521 in 2015.

“Among unemployed Bangladeshi fortune seekers, there is a (desire) to migrate to Europe by any means, and human-trafficking syndicates at home and abroad (have grabbed) this opportunity,” Shariful Hasan, head of the migration program at the Bangladesh-based development organization BRAC, told Arab News. “There needs to be an integrated effort by all concerned countries, with the support of Interpol, to curb this human trafficking.”