Tag Archives: North Africa

Egypt News | Vietnamese Visitors

Vietnamese tourists killed in bomb attack in Egypt

  • Three tourists and their Egyptian guide were killed by a roadside bomb blast near the Giza pyramids, which left an additional 10 injured.
  • The tourists had been on their way to a light and sound show at the pyramids.
  • The attack was the first fatal one involving foreign tourists in more than a year, with Egypt’s tourism sector having begun to mount a comeback following years of political turmoil.

Read

Bomb kills three Vietnamese tourists, Egyptian guide near pyramids: officials” (Reuters | December 2018)

Bomb in Egypt Strikes Bus Full of Vietnamese Tourists, Killing 4” (The New York Times | December 2018)

Deadly roadside bomb strikes tourist bus” (CNN | December 2018)

Libya Feature | Black African Migrants

The Resurgence of Black Enslavement in Libya


Source: CNN/YouTube (November 2017)

As a byproduct of ongoing trans-Mediterranean mass migration by sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees, human trafficking in Libya has surged as smugglers extort and exploit migrants in search of passage to Europe. Reports of imprisonment, forced labor, human markets, financial extortion, physical abuse, and the denial of access to basic necessities like food and water involving black African migrants tell the tale of lawlessness and extreme vulnerability in the war-torn country.

With the E.U. pushing the largely disempowered Libyan government to crack down on migrants using its coast as a point of departure for Europe, poorly run detention centers have sprung up with little oversight to prevent migrants from attempting the trans-Mediterranean passage (where more than 10,000 have died since 2014). Corruption among detention officials, inertia in the repatriation process, and poor international coordination have resulted in some of the detained being leased out for day labor or sold to work on farms and in businesses instead of returned to their countries of origin. Global outrage has led to emergency meetings in multiple international organizations, but a long-term solution to the crisis remains elusive.

Read

Slavery in Libya: Life inside a container” (Al Jazeera | January 2018)

Migrant slavery in Libya: Nigerians tell of being used as slaves” (BBC News | January 2018)

IOM Learns of ‘Slave Market’ Conditions Endangering Migrants in North Africa” (International Organization for Migration | April 2017)

Watch

Libya slavery scandal overshadows EU-Africa summit (Al Jazeera | November 2017)

‘Slave markets’ in Libya trap migrants heading for Europe (euronewsvia YouTube | April 2017)

Libya’s Migrant Trade (VICE News | September 2015)

U.A.E. News | Tunisian Women

U.A.E. airline issues travel ban on Tunisian women
  • Emirates, the U.A.E.’s national airline, barred Tunisian women from its flights, necessitating Tunisian government intervention to help stranded passengers.
  • A presidential spokesperson indicated that the Emirati government had issued the directive in response to information indicating women with a Tunisian passport would attempt a terrorist attack.
  • In response, Tunisia banned Emirates from landing in its capital, Tunis.
Read

Attack fears prompted UAE-Tunisia female passenger row” (BBC News | December 2017)

UAE has information Tunisian women may commit ‘terrorist acts’, Tunisia says” (Reuters | December 2017)

Tunisia suspends Emirates flights over security measures targeting women” (Agence France-Presse, via The Guardian | December 2017)

Algeria News | Christian

Christians celebrate opening of Christmas market in Algiers
  • Catholic international organization Caritas organized the market, which has seen contributions from Christians and Muslims alike as a result of increased advertisement in its second year.
  • Algeria’s population is 99% Sunni Muslim but has seen an increase in its Christian minority as a result of the international diplomatic community and influx of sub-Saharan migrants from countries like Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
  • Because proselytizing is legally forbidden, Algerian Christian organizations focus on social services in local communities as well as cultural exchange between the country’s Christian and Muslim communities.
Read

Christmas market opens in Algerian capital” (Reuters | December 2017)

« Chrétiens d’Algérie », ils témoignent sans prosélytisme” (La Croix | October 2017, in French)

Dans ‘Chrétiens d’Algérie-Sur les chemins de la rencontre’, Jean Dulon dévoile une ‘Algérie proche et fraternelle’” (The Huffington Post Maghreb | March 2017, in French)

Egypt News | LGBT

Egypt expands crackdown on LGBT community
  • Dozens of LGBT Egyptians have been arrested , including raids on cafés and detentions following a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila (fronted by a gay man).
  • As citizens continue to be subjected to invasive medical examinations and entrapment via social media and mobile apps, Egypt’s media regulatory body issued a statement condemning homosexuality as a “sickness” and barring the presence or representation of gay people in the media.
  • In addition to political and law enforcement assaults, LGBT Egyptians have recently been the targets of cultural campaigns by the media and conservative religious and academic leaders.
Read

Brutal crackdown has gay and transgender Egyptians asking: Is it time to leave?” (The Los Angeles Times | October 2017)

Egypt’s latest crackdown on gays creates fear in LGBT community” (USA Today | October 2017)

Unofficial Translation of Statement by Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation” (Human Rights Watch | October 2017)

Egypt News | Activists & Dissidents

New NGO law severely curtails capabilities of rights organizations and charities in Egypt
  • President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a law limiting NGO work to developmental and social work activities and subjecting them to government regulation, with violators facing to up to five years of jail time.
  • NGOs will have one year to come into compliance with the law or be dissolved.
  • Human rights organizations accused the government of attempting to quell dissent, with officials long having accused NGOs of taking foreign money to destabilize national security.
Read

Egypt issues controversial NGO law, cracking down on dissent” (Reuters | May 2017)

The Latest: Egypt’s president ratifies law restricting NGOs” (The Associated Press via ABC News | May 2017)

Egypt’s NGO law aims to ‘erase civil society’” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: via Reuters)

Egypt News | Coptic Christians

More than two dozen Coptic Christians killed in attack in Egypt
  • Gunmen killed at least 29 and wounded two dozen more in Minya Province while they were en route to a monastery in central Egypt.
  • The Islamic State claimed responsibility, the latest in a series of attacks by the fundamentalist group on the religious minority that has left more than 100 dead since December 2016.
  • Thousands mourned the dead at the Church of the Sacred Family in the village of Dayr Jarnous before beginning a defiant march expressing outrage and calling for retribution.
Read

Grief, rage in Egyptian church after Copts attacked by gunmen” (Reuters | May 2017)

Gunmen in Egypt Force Coptic Christian Pilgrims From Buses and Kill 28” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Egypt Coptic Christians: IS claims attack” (BBC News | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Amr Nabil/Associated Press, via The New York Times)

Egypt News | Christians

At least three dozen killed in church bombings in Egypt
  • At least 25 were killed and 78 injured at St. George’s Church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, while a second targeted St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic Pope in Alexandra, killing at least 11 and wounding 35.
  • The bombings, claimed by the Islamic State, came during Palm Sunday observances, a week before Easter and ahead of a planned visit by Pope Francis.
  • The attacks are the latest in a series committed by fundamentalist Islamic militants, with the Islamic State having shifted its strategy in Egypt to targeting the country’s Coptic Christian minority.
Read

Bombings at Egyptian Coptic churches kill 36, injure more than 100” (Reuters | April 2017)

ISIS Claims 2 Deadly Explosions at Egyptian Coptic Churches on Palm Sunday” (The New York Times | April 2017)

Egypt: Isis claims responsibility for Coptic church bombings” (The Guardian | April 2017)

(Image Credit: Khaled Elfiqi/European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)

Morocco & Spain News | Migrants & Asylum-Seekers

Hundreds storm gate to Morocco-Spain border at Ceuta exclave
  • The autonomous Spanish enclave of Ceuta, one of only two land borders between Africa and Europe, saw some 850 sub-Saharan migrants and asylum-seekers scaling barbed wire fences along the five-mile border between Morocco and Spain to reach the immigration center inside.
  • The city, located on the northwest coast of Morocco, has long been the site of attempts to cross into Europe, although strong security forces have kept most attempts at bay.
  • The event follows a similar—though unsuccessful—one from New Year’s Day, when more than 1,000 attempted to breach the gate.
Read

Los saltos en la valla de Ceuta se duplican tras la amenaza de Marruecos” (El País | February 2017)

Morocco uses migrant crisis as leverage in EU free trade dispute” (France24 | February 2017)

Risking Injury and Arrest, African Migrants Storm a Gate to Europe” (The New York Times | February 2017)

(Image Credit: Jesus Moron/Associated Press, via The New York Times)

Interregional News | Migrants & Asylum-Seekers

Italy rescues almost 2,500 asylum-seekers in Mediterranean over three days as trips and deaths surge
  • The Italian Coast Guard pulled 1,100 from nine vessels in one day following the rescue of 1,360 in the previous two days as migrant deaths are up by more than 330% over 2016.
  • More than 10,700 have crossed the Mediterranean in the first months of 2017, an increase of a third over 2016.
  • Recently, Italy and the U.N. agreed to fund migrant camps, Coast Guard training, and anti-smuggling efforts in Libya to stem the flow of migrants into southern Europe, a move criticized by humanitarian groups because of Libya’s political insecurity and harsh treatment of migrants.
Read

Italy says 2,500 boat migrants rescued at sea in three days” (Reuters | February 2017)
Migrant Fatalities Surge on Libya-Italy Mediterranean Route” (Voice of America | February 2017)
Can E.U. Shift Migrant Crisis to the Source? In Libya, the Odds Are Long” (The New York Times | February 2017)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via Voice of America)

Egypt News | Christians

Hundreds of Christians flee as Islamic State violence increases in Egypt
  • Dozens of families and more than 200 students fled the province of North Sinai as the Islamic State warned of more attacks against Christians in the country.
  • Seven Christians have been killed over the last month in the provincial capital Arish, where the Islamic State is making an insurgent push.
  • Militants circulated “death lists” online, forcing Christians to choose between flight or death.
Read

(Image Credit: Ahmed Aboulenein/Reuters)

Global Event | Christmas

Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World


Source: Al Jazeera YouTube

One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas

Interregional News | Asylum-Seekers

Number of asylum-seekers drowned in Mediterranean reaches 5,000 for 2016
  • The U.N. refugee agency announced the figure—amounting to an average of 14 deaths per day—following the recent deaths of 100 asylum-seekers after two dinghies sank off the coast of Italy.
  • The number is highest annual total yet, with contributing factors including poor weather, decreased boat construction quality, increasingly crowded seas, and increasingly desperate attempts to avoid detection and deportation.
  • According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 360,000 reached Europe’s shores by sea in 2016, a significant decrease from the more than 1 million in 2015.

Read more:
Migrant crisis: UN says 5,000 drown trying to reach Europe this year” (BBC)
Mediterranean death toll is record 5,000 migrants this year: agencies” (Reuters)
‘Worst Annual Death Toll Ever’: Mediterranean Claims 5,000 Migrants” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

Egypt News | Christians

IS claims responsibility on Cairo church bombing that left dozens dead
  • The attack on St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral killed at least 25 people and injured nearly 50, most of them women, in Egypt’s deadliest mass killing driven by sectarian conflict since 2011.
  • The cathedral was the seat of the Egyptian Orthodox Church and a prominent symbol for Egyptian Copts, who comprise around 10% of the country’s population and who have been subject to systemic discrimination.
  • Following the attack, the Islamic State threatened to escalate its “war on polytheism,” leading members of the Christian community and government officials to suspect more large-scale attacks are on the way.

Read more:
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Egypt Church Bombing and Warns of More to Come” (The New York Times)
Blast at Egyptian Coptic cathedral kills at least 25” (The Washington Post)
23 killed in explosion inside church attached to Cairo’s Coptic cathedral” (Al-Ahram)

(Image Credit: Khaled Desouki/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)

Egypt News | Critics, Advocates & Journalists

Travel bans trap Egyptian activists in “giant prison”
  • Two prominent human rights advocates—Aida Seif al-Dawla and Azza Soliman—recently discovered they were barred from traveling in and out of Egypt as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi continues targeting civil society and human rights organizations.
  • Human rights monitors report that 217 people have been subject to travel bans between 2014 and 2016, 115 of whom are critics of the Sisi-led government.
  • Activists and journalists reported being met with deferral or radio silence when inquiring about the cause or origin of their bans, with the government denying a crackdown.

Read more:
Egypt is giant prison, activists banned from travel say” (Reuters)
Egypt imposes travel bans on human rights activists” (The Financial Times)
A Top Egyptian Human Rights Activist Banned From Travel” (AP via The New York Times)