Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Mass Graves of Migrants in Libya: An End to a Dream for a Better Life in Europe

Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)
Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)
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Mass Graves of Migrants in Libya: An End to a Dream for a Better Life in Europe

Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)
Specialized search teams locate the bodies of the dead migrants (Criminal Investigation Service in Libya's West)

The UN human rights chief, Volker Turk, urged on Tuesday Libyan authorities to investigate reports of a mass grave including the bodies of at least 65 migrants found last March in the desert in the northwest of the country.

Hundreds of irregular migrants flock to Libya through the Sahara Desert and across the southern Mediterranean to escape to Europe where they dream of a better life. But many of them presumably die due to thirst and are buried in “mass graves.”

Three months ago, the Libyan Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said it recovered 65 unidentified bodies of migrants in Wadi Al-Jahria, located in the Al-Shuwerf area, southwest of the country.

The Department did not disclose any details about the victims. However, the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL) said the bodies belong to migrants who died while being smuggled across the desert, in Al-Shuwerf, southwest of the city of Gharyan.

Since the discovery of “Grave 65,” there have been no investigative results to clarify the truth of what the victims were exposed to in the desert.

Turk said on Tuesday that his office was following up on reports of a mass grave in the desert along the Libya-Tunisia border.
He emphasized the urgency of the situation, urging Libyan authorities to promptly respond to inquiries and conduct a thorough investigation into these disturbing developments.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, he said, “I urge the authorities to respond swiftly to our inquiries, and to investigate these crimes fully.”

Turk then denounced widespread violations against migrants and refugees in Libya.

A source from the Gharyan Prosecution told Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt that the investigations, which kicked off on Tuesday will take time to reveal the identity of the victims and the circumstances surrounding their death, saying they probably died during the smuggling process through the desert by human trafficking gangs.

Libya is a major launching point for migrants trying to reach the European shores through dangerous routes across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday said that from 30 June to 6 July 2024, 598 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : UN, World Bank to Fund Climate-Resilient Roads in Rural Areas in Yemen

Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)
Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)
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UN, World Bank to Fund Climate-Resilient Roads in Rural Areas in Yemen

Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)
Supporting local initiatives in Yemen to maintain rural roads (Social Fund for Development)

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the World Bank are constructing climate-resilient roads in rural areas in Yemen and are enhancing road infrastructure to improve access to food and basic services for rural communities across the country, the two bodies revealed in a statement.

The constructions are part of the three-year Yemen Emergency Lifeline Connectivity project, which began in 2022.

The project aims to provide climate resilient road access and employment and entrepreneurship opportunities to the food insecure rural population of Yemen.

It comprises rural and village access roads improvement and maintenance, such as the rehabilitation of lifeline rural access roads and road maintenance through private sector participation and supply chain enhancement.

Also, the project will strengthen the management capacity of transport sector public institutions to finance the project management capacities of the road maintenance fund (RMF) and rural access program (RAP) through a program of capacity building.

This aims to prepare them to efficiently manage the network in the medium to longer-term and strengthen RAP’s and RMF’s capacity to predict, respond, and design resilient roads infrastructure to extreme climate events such as floods, to assess vulnerability of infrastructure assets and prepare and implement resilient investment plans.

In addition, the project supports monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the project is successfully and efficiently implemented and to provide immediate response to an eligible crisis or emergency following the procedures governed by the Bank policy for investment project financing.

$50 Million

With $50 million in funding from the World Bank's International Development Association, UNOPS said it is rehabilitating and upgrading 150 km of access roads in rural areas and 60 km of access roads to villages, as well as supporting the maintenance of an additional 150 km of road.

UNOPS is also procuring and installing three pre-fabricated bridges as part of the project.

To date, works on more than 70 km of roads are complete, while works on 85 km are near complete.

“We are proud to partner with the World Bank on a project that will help increase economic opportunities for rural communities by facilitating their access to markets and social services,” said Muhammad Usman Akram, Director of UNOPS Multi-Country Office in Amman.

The rehabilitated roads will help address food insecurity and foster the safe and reliable delivery of food and other essential goods to rural communities.

The all-weather roads will also provide a way for humanitarian organizations to access more communities.

“The reactivation of the Road Asset Management System will support Yemen in assessing the vulnerability of infrastructure assets, designing climate-resilient road infrastructure and preparing climate-resilient investment plans for subsequent implementation in the future,” added Usman Akram.