Libya must ensure the safety of hundreds of former residents of the northern town of Tawergha, who are stranded and even dying in the desert despite an agreement allowing their safe return, a UN human rights expert has said.
The entire population of around 40,000 people was forcibly evacuated in 2011 as collective punishment for their perceived support for deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi. Their return, in line with the government-endorsed agreement, has been blocked by armed groups.
“I am appalled at the news that thousands of people from Tawergha, who have already had to face seven hard years away from their homes, are being barred from returning and are being forced to live in makeshift shelters in the desert,” said Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons.
“Two men have died already following strokes, possibly as a result of the harsh weather conditions with temperatures dropping close to zero degrees at night. Many children, women and men stranded in the desert are suffering from extremely poor living conditions such as poor sanitation, lack of health facilities, shortage of medicine and limited drinking water.
“It is critical that the Libyan Government, as well as the UN and NGOs, act to ensure that no more lives are lost as a result of this situation and that the Tawerghan people are allowed to reach their homes in safety and dignity.”
Around 200 families are camped out in makeshift tents in Qararet al-Qatef near Tawergha, while others are living in tents or public halls in nearby towns.
“Although some of the families camped out in the desert are receiving assistance from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), it is essential for Libya to fulfil its international obligation to protect and help them,” the Special Rapporteur stated.
“The UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement make clear it is the primary duty and responsibility of the national authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to address people’s most urgent needs, in order to support them in achieving durable solutions – in this case supporting their return to and reintegration in their place of origin.”
Local authorities and armed groups from nearby Misrata blocked the Tawerghans’ return, despite an agreement between representatives from the two areas for the long-anticipated process to start on 1 February.
“Although the agreement was endorsed by the Government of National Accord, the returning Tawerghans were met with threats of violence by armed groups and local authorities and were prevented from entering their town,” she said.
“The town has been uninhabitable for the past seven years as a result of deliberate destruction by armed groups from Misrata, and it is crucial that the government ensures that sustainable conditions are in place for Tawerghans to rebuild their lives there,” she added.
One of Ms. Jimenez-Damary’s main recommendations after visiting Libya in January was for the Government to develop a national roadmap which would clearly define roles and improve coordination of dedicated Ministries and organizations, to ensure that people forced from their homes receive all necessary and effective protection and assistance.
“Lasting solutions must be found for all those affected by displacement in Libya, including those from Tawergha,” Ms. Jimenez-Damary said.
The Special Rapporteur, the first special procedure of the UN Human Rights Council to undertake a country mission to Libya, will present a report on her visit to the Human Rights Council in June 2018.
COVID-19: SON moves to harmonise locally produced ventilators to meet global standards
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Wednessday disclosed that it has begun harmonising the production of ventilators developed across the country to conform with the international standards toward containing COVID-19 pandemic.
SON’s Director-General, Osita Aboloma, made this disclosure in a statement in Lagos, following the unveiling of locally manufactured ventilators produced by Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro in Ogun.
SON’s DG, who was represented by its Ogun Office 1 Coordinator, Mr Jerome Umoru, was at the unveiling.
SON urged various inventors to ensure compliance with ISO 5080601/2/12/3020 and Medical Electrical Equipment part 11 for clinical care.
He noted that adherence to the standard will ensure ease during the process of conformity assessment and product certification.
He stressed that the certification of locally produced ventilators, air purifiers and hand sanitiser machines would put the nation in its pride of place globally.
“We are partnering with the institute in ensuring that various machines produced in the country meet the required standards so as not to end up in the shelves,” Aboloma said.
He also added that the standards body of the unification was also aimed at saving the nation’s foreign exchange spent on importation of ventilators to fights against COVID-19.
Aboloma advised private sector investment in such innovations to enable inventors to go through the next stages of clinical trials and obtain the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) mark.
He reiterated SON’s support toward sustaining local production of essential materials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through quality assurance.
“In our efforts to address the ongoing pandemic, we have diligently assigned officers to inspect the ventilators and alcohol-based hand sanitisers under production.
“We have one common standard for each product. We want to ensure that what we are producing meets the standard and once it does, we will certify it.
“We will also continue to monitor activities so that they do not rest on their oars in producing quality goods.
“I have presented a copy of the Standard to the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, and it is the ‘golden rule,” he said.
SON promised that the moment the institute was able to meet the basic parameter on requirements, certification of the innovations would be fast tracked.
“SON is ready to partner with all technical institutions, especially those involved in the production of life saving equipment and materials at this time.
“This is so that their products will meet minimum requirements of the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS), and undergo certification under the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) scheme,” he said.
The SON director-general revealed that in no distant time, consumers would be empowered through product authentication scheme to determine the quality and conformance of products at the point of purchase.
He said that those without necessary certifications would be rejected.
Just In: Makinde distributes palliatives to persons living with disabilities
The governor, who stated this at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan during the distribution of palliatives to PWDs, maintained that pretenders and impersonators will never again be allowed to take what rightly belongs to PWDs in the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the distribution of palliatives to PWDs is the third phase of the palliatives distribution in the state, with the state having distributed palliatives to 90,000 poorest of the poor households as well as the distribution of seedlings, herbicides, pesticides and other farm inputs to 10,000 farmers in the first and second phases.
In his speech, the governor reiterated his promise to set up an agency for persons with disabilities, noting that his administration has not forgotten its commitment in that regard.
He added that the agency will be in place before the administration’s second anniversary in office.
He said: “When I walked in here this morning, I thought of the pictures in my archive. We have all met. We have all taken pictures together. So, you are not new to me and I am not new to you. It is just the continuation of the relationship that we started, even before I became the governor of this state.
“The bottom line is that, before now, we went into the records and we saw that every time you say you are putting up a programme for the people living with disabilities, you only have 20 per cent of the data being correctly presented. About 80 per cent will just be able-bodied people taking benefits that belong to the people living with disabilities. But we have been able to crack that and solve it. So, never again will pretenders or impersonators in Oyo State take what rightly belongs to people with disabilities.
“When we said they should bring names of persons living with disabilities for them to be included in the administration at the local level, some people thought we would not check. So, they brought the names of able-bodied people. We called and asked around and discovered that it was the names of able-bodied people that were submitted. So, we removed their names.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank you for your support during the election and the present administration. We made promises during the electioneering and promised to involve you in every facet of this administration and we are on that path.
“This is the third phase of palliatives distribution. The first stage is for the poorest of the poor amongst us. We distributed palliatives just like this to 90,000 households. Some who are farmers called me and said we should give them seedlings to increase their productivity when they get to their various farms. We listened to them and, in the second phase, we distributed seedlings to the farmers.
“Now, this is the third phase, which is for the vulnerable within us and it will be for 30,000 households. So, we are flagging it off with yourselves because you are among the vulnerable in our society.”
Governor Makinde, who stated that he was aware that his promise to set up an agency for PWDs has not been fulfilled, said the promise will come to fruition, as he has kept a record of all the promises he made during the electioneering.
He implored the PWDs to continue to adhere to the directives of the Oyo State Task Force on COVID-19.
Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Adviser to the governor on Agribusiness, Dr. Debo Akande, said the event was a reflection of Governor Makinde’s commitment to ensuring equity and equality in the running of the state, adding that with the governor, all citizens and residents of the state are equal.
He maintained that the food security and emergency committee, which is in charge of palliatives distribution, did due diligence to ensure that all persons present at the event had their data checked and clarified.
Nigerian army kills boko haram top commanders
Nigerian army troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole have killed top Boko Haram terrorists in an operation in the northeast according to the Defence Headquarters.
Major General John Enenche, the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.
He revealed that the death of the insurgents followed a failed “attack on troops’ location at Banki Junction and Response Area Firgi within the 7 Division Strike Group.”
He also added that the terrorists who met their waterloo were some high ranking Commanders of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Boko Haram terrorist’s group.
The statement read, “Consequently, troops of Operation LAFYA DOLE carried out a counter-attack against the terrorists on the 26th of May 2020. After the attack, human intelligence confirmed the death of some high ranking Commanders of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Boko Haram terrorist’ group.
“The BHT/ISWAP Commanders that were killed include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap among others.
“Additionally, Seventy-two (72) members of the sect were also neutralised. Others wounded with narrow chances of survival include some high profile Commanders and fighters namely: Abu Jamratu AL-Naweer, Kaka Bana and Tareta Babakari,”.
Also, Enenche said a large number of their equipment which included gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by troops in collaboration with the Air Task Force.
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