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UN Security Council and kidnapping for ransom

Security Council tackles the kidnapping for ransom by terrorists


27 January 2014 – The United Nations Security Council today strongly condemned incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by terrorists for any purpose, including raising funds or gaining political concessions, and called for international cooperation to tackle this scourge.

In its first-ever resolution devoted specifically to kidnapping for ransom by terrorists, the 15-member body called on all Member States to prevent terrorists from benefitting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions and to secure the safe release of hostages.

Speaking to reporters after the Council’s action, Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, of the United Kingdom, which drafted the resolution, said it has been estimated that in the past three and a half years, al Qaeda-affiliated and other Islamist extremist groups have collected at least $105 million.

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Sinai Becomes Prison for African Migrants

Sinai Becomes Prison for African Migrants
By SARAH LYNCH Published: October 31, 2012

African asylum seekers waited on the Egyptian side of the border fence with Israel in early September. The trip for those trying to cross from Egypt to Israel has become increasingly dangerous as criminal gangs in Sinai have taken migrants and asylum seekers hostage.
by: Nir Elias/Reuters African asylum seekers waited on the Egyptian side of the border fence with Israel in early September. The trip for those trying to cross from Egypt to Israel has become increasingly dangerous as criminal gangs in Sinai have taken migrants and asylum seekers hostage.
AL-MEHDIA, EGYPT — Frisgy Gamienbay, a 21-year-old Eritrean, was emaciated when Egyptian Bedouins discovered him late one September evening in the Sinai Desert near the Egyptian-Israeli border. A few weeks later, he died in an Egyptian hospital near the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

When he was found he had not eaten for three weeks and had been tortured, said a man named Abou Hamad, who cared for Mr. Gamienbay at his house in the area in the days before he died.

The Egyptian government began military operations in August to root out extremists and get Sinai under control. But despite an increased security presence, criminal gangs in Sinai continue to take migrants and asylum seekers hostage en route to Israel. They are held for ransom and often tortured.

“This is one of the most serious human rights concerns in Egypt and it’s not being addressed,” said Nicholas Piachaud, North Africa campaigner for Amnesty International. “It’s a tragedy which has unfolded across many different countries and is playing out on an international scale but being ignored by the international community.”

Sub-Saharan migrants, refugees and asylum seekers began moving northward, aiming to enter Israel, around 2006, said Shahar Shoham, who directs the migrants department at Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which provides medical treatment for them.

At first they were mostly Sudanese, who paid as much $2,000 to be taken to Israel, said Abou Mahmoud, a Sinai Bedouin who said he used to smuggle them.

But since 2008 they have mostly come from Eritrea, said Ms. Shoham and other experts. It is these Eritreans who have become the main targets of extortion and trafficking.

Meron Estefanos, a human rights activist and radio presenter in Sweden for Radio Erena, which broadcasts in Eritrea and via satellite around the world, said that in some cases criminals lured young Eritreans seeking asylum in Ethiopia into crossing Sinai instead, with a promise of better lives in Israel. They then kidnap them, she said.

Over the past 20 months, human rights workers in Egypt, Israel and Europe have documented a disturbing new trend.

Hostages in Sinai say they never intended to go to Israel but were kidnapped in Sudan or Ethiopia on their way to refugee camps and sold to Sinai criminals to be held for ransom.

“We are actually talking about a few hundred in Israel that didn’t plan to come here,” Ms. Shoham said.

The kidnappers are members of the Rashaida tribe in Eritrea and Sudan, or other Eritreans, according to a September report by Europe External Policy Advisers, a research group in Brussels, and Tilburg University, in the Netherlands. The report was based on 104 interviews with hostages, conducted primarily by telephone while they were being held.

Many said they had been kidnapped from refugee camps, including the Shagarab camp, in Sudan, and Mai Aini, in Ethiopia.

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Fund Raising Dinner Nov.2011

Fund Raising Dinner Nov.2011

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World Council of Churches in Geneva
Told 3,000 Lives, Mostly Eritreans, Perished in the Sinai

 from the

Last Updated on Monday, 14 November 2011 21:10 Written by EPDP Information Office Monday, 14 November 2011 20:58

Senior officials of the World Council of Churches (WCC) were informed by the Eritrean priest, Father Mussie Zerai, on Monday 14 November, that in the last three years alone, 10,000 African refugees suffered brutalities by Bedouin human organ traffickers inthe Egyptian Sinai and Sudan and that 3,000 of them perished without trace. The Catholic priest, Father Mussie, is the founder-manager of Agenzia Habeshia which has been engaged in advocacy on behalf of victimized Eritrean and Ethiopian asylum seekers in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Vatican Voices Hope for Peace in Libya

Laments Systems Based on Power, Not Human Dignity

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2011 ( The Vatican responded to Thursday’s news of the death of Libya’s dictator with a statement expressing the hope that Libyans will be spared further violence.

The note, released late Thursday, said the news of the dictator’s death “marks the end of a much too long and tragic phase of a brutal struggle to bring down a harsh and oppressive regime.”

The statement emphasized that “this dramatic event” leads to reflection on “the immense toll of human suffering which accompanies the affirmation and collapse of any system which is not based on the respect and dignity of the human person, but rather on the prevailing affirmation of power.”

The Vatican urged the international community to be generous in assisting Libya to rebuild and it also noted its own first contacts with the new leaders.