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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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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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