UN says that taking migrants to Libya by Italian towboat ‘may have been in breach of international law’ (UPDATE)

Euronews reports that the United Nations say an Italian towboat which rescued more than 100 people in the Mediterranean and returned them to Libya may have been in breach of international law.

A spokesman for the U.N. migration agency said it could not establish the location of the rescue, which is key to establishing migrants’ rights, although some other parties involved in the case have made contradictory assertions about the incident including where it took place.Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms say the Asso 28, an oil rig support vessel rescued them from international waters on Monday and took them to Libya, their country of departure.… Be Informed

Palestine elected as presiding country of the UN Group of 77

New York Times / Al Jazeera: The state of Palestine has been elected as the presiding country of the Group of 77, the biggest bloc of developing countries at the United Nations, a move that has irked Israel.

The Group of 77 was established in 1964 by 77 countries and was designed to promote their collective economic interests, as well as to enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the UN.… Be Informed

Thursday Morning Briefing

Good morning,

From Trump’s back pedalling to the Queen’s messages hidden in brooches. From the court room in Valletta to the temporary beach volley court in the same city.

Our Morning Briefing for Thursday, bringing you the salient news, as reported around in Malta and around the World.… Be Informed

Saudi Arabia, UAE, launch attack on Yemen’s port city of Hudaida

AlJazeera: UN warns of devastating consequences for 250,000 Hudaida residents as coalition targets Houthi rebels in port city.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have launched an assault on Yemen’s port city of Hudaida, in the biggest battle of a three-year war between a Saudi-backed coalition and Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels.… Be Informed

Germany, Belgium, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia elected on the UN Security Council

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday voted to elect Germany, Belgium, South Africa, the Dominican Republic and Indonesia for a two-year term on the Security Council starting on Jan. 1, 2019.

Euronews reports that Indonesia drew more votes than the Maldives in the only contested election; the other four candidates ran unopposed.… Be Informed

UN Security Council imposes sanctions on six leaders of human trafficking in Libya

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on six leaders of human trafficking networks operating in Libya – the first time traffickers have been put on an international sanctions list.

BBC reports that the blacklisted six are four Libyans, including the head of a regional coast guard unit, and two Eritrean nationals.… Be Informed

UN Report: 101 civilian casualties in Libya during May

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) documented 101 civilian casualties –47 deaths and 54 injuries – during the conduct of hostilities, including car and suicide bombings, across Libya during the month of May.

The report says that the death toll is the highest recorded by UNSMIL for any month in 2018.… Be Informed

Corporate Dispatch – Saturday’s Morning Briefing

Good morning,

The Maltese Newspapers report that the Malta Financial Services Authority said that Ali Sadr Hasheminejad’s arrest in the US “immediately compromised” Pilatus Bank’s entire operation and made it “fall foul of a myriad of provisions”. The authority’s reaction came after an attempt by the bank’s directors to regain control, insisting the gravity of the situation warranted all the measures taken.

Be Informed

The humanitarian situation in Derna is worsening – UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has stated that the escalation of fighting in Derna – eastern Libya – has reached unprecedented levels due to the use of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

“Some of the attacks have been targeting residential areas, besides heavy ground clashes.” OHCA added in a report on Thursday.… Be Informed

Libya’s Elderly Council demands UN to intervene to end air strikes on Derna


The Council of Elders of Tripoli organized a protest Sunday outside the UN headquarters in Janzour district in Tripoli to express solidarity with the residents of Derna and demanded an end to the air raids on the city.

The representatives of the council met with members of the United Nations mission and demanded the intervention of the UN to put an end to the air raids on Derna.… Be Informed

UN rights council approves probe into Israeli response to Gaza clashes


The United Nations Human Rights Council approves a commission of inquiry to investigate Israel’s handling of clashes on the Gaza border and alleged human rights violations in the Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem. Twenty-nine countries on the rights council vote to approve the probe, including China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, while 14 countries abstained.… Be Informed

Eight month baby, eight children under age of 16, amongst the 59 killed in Gaza


Palestinians held funerals for 59 killed by Israeli forces in the violence which erupted yesterday in the Gaza neighbourhood. Today coincides with the day Palestinians mark the “Nakba”, or catastrophe, commemorating the more than 700,000 people who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.… Be Informed

Reactions to Trump’s announcement on withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he is deeply concerned by the US decision to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal, and calls on all other parties to fully abide by deal’s commitments. “It is essential that all concerns regarding the implementation of the Plan be addressed through the mechanisms established in the JCPOA,” he said.… Be Informed

UN report claims that Afghan government helicopters killed and wounded at least 107 boys and men



A new UN report on the 2 April 2018 airstrikes in the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz province, UNAMA presents its findings, including verification of 107 casualties (36 killed and 71 injured), of which 81 were children, although the report notes that UNAMA received additional credible information indicating higher figures.… Be Informed

Reactions after the Korean summit outcome – Updated



China, considered to be North Korea’s key international ally welcomed the summit and described the outcome as helpful for inter-Korean reconciliation.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang said that “Today, the leaders of South and North Korea held their summit successfully and announced a joint declaration on their common understanding of inter-Korean relations, easing military tension on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearizing the peninsula and a permanent peace.… Be Informed

The UN must examine its conscience on Syria – Nobel Peace prize winner Maartti Ahtisaari


Nobel Peace Prize Winner Martti Ahtisaari in a piece written for The Guardian, argues that “the alarming events of the past week have reminded us of the severe costs of inaction. Suspicion of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, along with the escalation of fighting on several fronts, needs to be taken seriously.… Be Informed