03 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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Death toll for 2018 exceeds 1,000, sparking concerns over Italian and Libyan crackdown

Khingsley Dokowada, nine, from Central African Republic, rests on the deck of a Spanish NGO vessel.

Nine-year-old Khingsley Dokowada, from Central African Republic, rests on the deck of a Spanish NGO vessel. Photograph: Olmo Calvo/AFP/Getty

More than 200 migrants have drowned at sea in the Mediterranean in the past three days, taking the death toll for the year to more than 1,000 and prompting fears that human traffickers are taking greater risks because of a crackdown imposed by the Italian government and the Libyan coastguard.

The UN refugee agency in Tripoli reported on Monday that 276 refugees and migrants were disembarked in the Libyan capital on Monday, including 16 survivors of a boat carrying 130 people, of whom 114 were still missing at sea. Further shipwrecks were found at the weekend.

On Tuesday the Libyan coastguard reported a further seven deaths and a further 123 migrants rescued.

The 1,000 deaths landmark was reached on 1 July. It is the fourth year in succession that more than 1,000 migrants have died trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

Othman Belbeisi, the chief of mission in Libya at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), claimed the “alarming increase” in deaths at sea was out of the ordinary.

“Smugglers are exploiting the desperation of migrants to leave before there are further crackdowns on Mediterranean crossings by Europe,” he said.

Overall the number of migrants reaching Italy by sea is down on last year’s figures, but the proportion of those trying to reach Italy that are drowning is rising, prompting claims that the stricter Italian government policy is to blame.

Figures prepared by Matteo Villa, a research fellow at the Italian thinktank ISPI, show that so far in 2018 only half of those leaving Libya have made it to Europe, down from 86% last year.

The data shows 44% have been brought back by the Libyan coastguard, compared with 12% last year. A total of 4.5% died or had gone missing, compared with 2.3% last year. But in June, almost one in 10 died or went missing upon departure from the Libyan coast – the highest proportion ever………..The Italian deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, a member of the Five Star Movement, said the deaths should not to be used as evidence to dispute the government’s tough new migration policy. “We will supply motor launches to Libya because the healthiest thing is that the Libyans should carry out the rescues, and take [the migrants] back to the Libyan coast,” he said.

The Italian policy changes have increased the numbers of people put in Libyan detention camps, which have been widely criticised by human rights groups and by UN agencies.

Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister and driving force behind the policy, has denied claims that the Libyan detention camps are overcrowded prisons, saying he has visited a detention centre there and found the conditions acceptable.

But the IOM’s Belbeisi said: “Migrants returned by the coastguard should not automatically be transferred to detention. We are deeply concerned that the detention centres will yet again be overcrowded and that living conditions will deteriorate with the recent influx of migrants.”

The UN says up to 10,000 people are being held in detention camps.

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