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20 August 2018

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The UN Office in Geneva lowered its flag to half-mast to mark the death of former UN SG Kofi Annan. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM

UN Mourns Death of Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘A Guiding Force for Good’

New York (UN News) – The United Nations is mourning the death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who passed away peacefully after a short illness on Saturday. The renowned Ghanaian diplomat was 80 years old.

Mr. Annan was the seventh man to take the helm of the global organization and the first Secretary-General to emerge from the ranks of its staff.

The current UN chief, Antonio Guterres hailed him as “a guiding force for good” and a “proud son of Africa who became a global champion for peace and all humanity.”

“Like so many, I was proud to call Kofi Annan a good friend and mentor. I was deeply honoured by his trust in selecting me to serve as UN High Commissioner for Refugees under his leadership. He remained someone I could always turn to for counsel and wisdom — and I know I was not alone,” Mr. Guterres said in a statement.

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A migrant from Sudan stands on board NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue boat in central Mediterranean Sea. Photo: REUTERS/Juan Medina

Returned to Libyan Shores and Held in Detention Centres: What are the Practical Alternatives?

Tripoli (Thomson Reuters Foundation)  – A few times a week, boats dangerously over packed with hundreds of scared but hopeful young people leave Libya for Europe. Some of these smuggler-run, barely sea-worthy vessels make it to their destination, predominantly Italy or Spain, where their passengers face uncertainty.

Others tragically succumb to the Mediterranean Sea due to the bad condition of both sea and boat. We have seen the Central Mediterranean route become more and more dangerous with a higher rate of people dying in proportion to those attempting the journey in 2018 compared with 2017. Saving lives must be at the core of any policy related to migration through the Mediterranean and for us, operating on the ground in Libya, it is our top priority.

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Rosalie: "I prefer to stay in Africa, even if this means having less money. I prefer my country to anything else.”

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  • CNN, UN News, Latin American Herald Tribune, IANS, and UrduPoint reported the passing of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

  • The New York Times reported that the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, one of only two places where Europe has land borders with Africa, is an increasingly attractive route for migrants seeking to enter Spain without crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Al Jazeera reported from Tarifa in southern Spain, where ‘unknown migrants’ who have died during the treacherous sea crossings are buried.

  • Xinhua reported that according to IOM, 63,142 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through August 16, fewer than the 119,137 arrivals across the region during the same period last year, and 266,423 at this point in 2016.

  • ONU Italia reported that Italy has granted 500,000 Euros to IOM in response to the humanitarian crisis in the Gedeo and West Guji zones in Ethiopia.

  • La Prensa reported that hundreds of people demonstrated this Saturday in Costa Rica against Nicaraguan migrants after false news circulated on social networks.

  • Cronkite News reported about No More Deaths, a volunteer group that drops off water and food in the desert to save the lives of migrants making the trek from Mexico to the US.

  • Philippine Information Agency reported that IOM and partners will upgrade more than 200 tents in the Sarimanok displacement sites in Marawi City.

  • The Local Italy reported about an organization in Sicily that is successfully tackling 'myths' about migration.

  • Politico ran an op-ed that noted that Brussels’ proposal to create migrant processing centers in North Africa creates more problems than it solves.

  • IRIN reported on a group of young Gambians who are trying to change the migration exodus mindset, after being rescued from detention in Libya.

  • Al Jazeera reported that hundreds of Venezuelans are stuck at the Ecuador-Colombia border after Ecuador said only those with valid passports will be allowed to enter.