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EU seeks UN support to tackle migrant smuggling

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has pleaded for UN help to dismantle criminal groups smuggling migrants into the European Union.

"We need to count on your support to save lives," she told a Security Council briefing on EU plans to use force against smugglers.

Libya, where many smugglers operate, has objected to the EU proposals.

More than 1,800 people are feared to have died this way in 2015 – a 20-fold increase on the same period in 2014.

Some 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean this year, the UN estimates.

Many of the migrants are fleeing conflict or poverty in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia.

'No-one sent back against will'

Speaking in New York on Monday, Ms Mogherini said the EU's first priority was to "save lives and prevent further loss of lives at sea".

She outlined proposals agreed by EU governments last month. These include:

  • reinforcing search and rescue efforts
  • tripling financial resources for this purpose over the next two years
  • disrupting smuggling networks and bringing the perpetrators to justice
  • efforts to identify, capture and destroy their vessels

The EU must seek UN approval in order to establish a clear legal basis for any military operation in Libyan territorial waters.

Diplomats from Italy, the UK, France, Lithuania and Spain are drafting a UN Security Council resolution under chapter seven of the UN charter that authorises the use of force to maintain international peace.

It is as yet unclear what shape military action could take.

Earlier, the Libyan ambassador to the UN told the BBC that the EU's intentions were unclear and that the Libyan government had not yet been consulted.

Ms Mogherini told UN representatives on Monday that an "exceptional response" was needed to deal with the "unprecedented" migrant flow.

But she said the situation was likely to continue as long as Libya lacked a government had authority across the country.

"No refugees or migrants intercepted at sea will be sent back against their will," she added.

Military approach criticised

Ms Mogherini travelled to Beijing last week to try to build support for a draft resolution, amid concerns that China and Russia would veto the proposal to use military force.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has cautioned against a military solution, warning that it could harm the livelihoods of Libyan fishermen.

Rights group Amnesty International, meanwhile, has cautioned that military action could leave migrants trapped in Libya in desperate conditions.

Without allowing safe alternative routes, the new EU measures "will not resolve the plight of migrants and refugees," the group said in a new report.

On Wednesday, the EU is also expected to propose a quota system for distributing asylum seekers between EU members, along with plans to increase legal means for migrants to come to Europe so that they do not turn to smugglers.

Countries most affected by the crisis, including Italy, Malta, Austria and Greece, are urging EU members to share the responsibility for migrants more evenly.

A quota system would need to be agreed by EU states and is highly controversial, with many countries fiercely opposed.

While Germany and France support the idea, leaders in the UK, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have voiced their objections.

BBC

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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