Category: Global

German newspaper prints names of 33,293 refugees who died trying to get to Europe

A German newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, has  listed names of 33,293 people it says died while trying to immigrate to Europe between 1993 and May of this year. The piece includes 46 pages of victims’ names, ages and countries of origin, as well as causes and dates of death. 

One entry is a 15-year-old boy who drowned on 15 November 2016 when a rubber dinghy he was on with 23 others sank while trying to travel from Libya to Europe.

Another tells of Iraqi migrant Talat Abdulhamid, 36, who froze to death on 6 January after walking for 48 hours through the mountains on the Turkish-Bulgarian border.

Mamadou Konate, 33, from Mali did manage to make it to Italy — but  died earlier this year in a blaze that consumed a ramshackle camp in San Severo.

The newspaper said it wanted to document “the asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants who died since 1993 as a consequence of the restrictive policies of Europe on the continent’s outer borders or inside Europe”. 

The majority of the people on the newspaper’s list drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last year was the deadliest for migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean, with at least 5,079 dying or going missing during their journey, according to the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“While overall numbers of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean by the eastern route were reduced significantly in 2016 by the EU-Turkey deal, death rates have increased to 2.1 per 100 in 2017, relative to 1.2 in 2016,” the IOM said in a September report.

“Part of this rise is due to the greater proportion of migrants now taking the most dangerous route – that across the central Mediterranean – such that 1 in 49 migrants now died on this route in 2016.” According to a spokesperson for the IOM. 

Some of the immigrants who succeeded in reaching Europe later died in violent attacks or killed themselves in custody while waiting to be deported back to their home countries.

A 17-year-old Somali boy died when neo-Nazis in the eastern German town of Schmoellnhe forced him to jump off a tower on Oct 21, 2016. A 30-year-old man from Uganda committed suicide in an immigrant detention center on the coast of southern England while awaiting deportation. 

“We want to honor them” Der Tagesspiegel wrote. “And at the same time we want to show that every line tells a story…and that the list keeps getting longer, day by day.”

France decides child predators aren’t actually rapists

French prosecutors have decided that sex between an 11-year-old and a 28-year-old man was consensual, prompting outrage across the country.
The man will only face the charge of sexual abuse of a minor – which carries a sentence of five years in prison – rather than rape, because he did not physically force her to have sex with him.

The girl is understood to have agreed to follow the man to his house from a park in Montmagny, a suburb to the north of Paris. He reportedly said he would teach her to kiss, but then had sex with her at the apartment.

The family of the child argued the girl was “paralysed” with fear and was unable to defend herself.

“She thought it was too late, that she didn’t have the right to protest, that it wouldn’t make any difference, so she went into autopilot, without emotion and without reaction,” the child’s mother told French news site Mediapart.

In cases involving adults in France, if no threat or violence occurs during sexual act it is deemed consensual. But the law does not take into account those under the age of 15, which is the age of consent.

France’s penal code says: “Committing a sexual offence against a minor under the age of 15 without violence, constraint, threat or surprise is punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 75,000 euros.”

The child’s lawyer, Carine Diebolt, argued it was irrelevant whether the child resisted the man’s advances. Calling for legislative change, she told reporters: “Today we should not even have this debate when it comes to a child.”

Children’s rights group Le Voix de l’Enfant said in a statement: “The question of consent or its absence should never even be asked when it comes to rape victims who are minors”.

Women accused of murdering Kim Jong-nam plead not guilty 

The trial of the two women accused of assasinating Kim Jong-Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un began today. 

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, are accused of rubbing VX agent in Kim Jong-nam’s face and eyes on 13 February at an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, killing him within about 20 minutes. Both women have pled not guilty. 

The women allege they were duped into believing they were playing a harmless prank for a hidden-camera show.
South Korea’s spy agency said the brazen killing was part of a five-year plot by North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, to assassinate a brother who fell from grace and has been critical of North Korea. 
Prosecutors are expected to call dozens of witnesses during the trial, starting with medical experts to establish the cause of death. Exposure to VX can result in convulsions, loss of consciousness, paralysis and fatal respiratory failure.

Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Huong’s lawyer, said the prosecution was expected to last for about two months, after which the judge would decide if there was a strong case for the women to mount a defense. The women face the death penalty if convicted. 

U.S. led forces acknowledge more civilian deaths in Syria, Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. led coalition fighting Islamic State militants on Friday confirmed that another 50 civilians had been killed in strikes in Iraq and Syria, raising the total number of civilians it has killed to 735 since the conflict began in 2014.

The coalition said in a statement that during August, it had assessed 185 reports of civilian casualties and found that the additional 50 deaths occurred in 14 incidents that it deemed were credible.

The most recent fatalities happened July 14 when 10 civilians were killed in a strike on an IS tunnel system in Mosul, Iraq.

In each case, the military said all feasible precautions had been taken to avoid harming civilians.

 

The coalition, battling to defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, says it goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. The military’s official tally is far below those of outside organizations. The monitoring group Airwars says at least 5,486 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes.

That raises the total number of civilians assessed to have been unintentionally killed by the coalition since August 2014 to 735.

Thousands evacuated amid explosions at Ukrainian ammunition depot 

30,000 people have been evacuated after an explosion of an ammunition depot in the Ukraine. So far, only person has been injured, and gas and electricity at the site have been shut off as a precautionary measure. 

Ukranian emergency services said the blasts occurred at a military base near Kalynivka in the Vynnytsya region, 170 miles west of Kiev. 

The powerful explosions late Tuesday created massive fireballs that lit up the night sky. Hours later, smoke was seen billowing Wednesday morning. Four residential buildings were damaged by fire but no casualties have been reported.

Local media reported that about 188,000 tons of munitions were kept at the depot including rockets for the Grad multiple grenade launchers.

“People suffered heavy damage,” a local resident who agreed to identify herself only as Antonina told AFP. “Some homes had their windows and doors completely blown out,” she said.

Andriy Ageyev, spokesman of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, told the 112 television station that munitions at the military base in Kalynivka were still detonating at the military base late Wednesday morning. 

Arriving in the region hours later, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said “external factors” were behind the explosion. He said the cause of the fire was under investigation. Olena Gitlyanska, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Security Service, told the Unian news agency they are treating the fire as sabotage.

Government forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since April 2014 in a conflict that has left more than 10,000 killed and displaced more than a million.