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UN uncovers camp where refugees are trafficked in Malawi

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The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has uncovered a camp in Malawi where refugees, including men, women and children are suspected to be trafficked by the camp officials.

The UNODC and the Malawian Police Service made the discovery on Sunday during a routine monitoring of trafficking routes, the UN said in a statement on Monday.

According to an official of the UN in Malawi, Maxwell Matewere, measures are currently underway to dismantle the human trafficking networks operating within the Dzaleka Refugee Camp, identify and rescue their victims, and bring those responsible to justice.

The Dzaleka refugee camp is a protracted camp with a monthly average of 300 new arrivals, about 62% who are from the DRC, 19% Burundi, seven percent from Rwanda and two percent from other nationalities.

Of the total population, 21,530 have refugee status, 30,910 are asylum seekers, with 238 others of concern, making the refugee situation protracted, the report added.

The protracted nature of the camp settlement and encampment policy increases the risks of its inhabitants to infectious diseases, protection, and self-sufficiency, the UN said.

“The situation was much worse than we first envisaged,” says Matewere who initially visited the camp in October 2020, where he trained camp staff and law enforcement officers on how to detect and respond to trafficking cases.

“I even witnessed a kind of Sunday market, where people come to buy children who were then exploited in situations of forced labour and prostitution,” Matewere added.

“Most of the victims rescued are men from Ethiopia, aged between 18 and 30. There are girls and women too, aged between 12 and 24 from Ethiopia, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“The majority live in the Dzaleka refugee camp located in the Dowa district, some 41 kilometres away from the capital Lilongwe.”

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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