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US: Assange’s Possible Extradition Threatens Journalism

The extradition of Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States for alleged computer-..

The extradition of Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States for alleged computer-related crimes could have dangerous implications for journalists in the digital age.Londons Metropolitan Police confirmed Assanges arrest on April 11, 2019 “on behalf of the United States authorities” under an extradition warrant. He was found guilty of breach of bail by a UK court the same day and ordered to appear on extradition charges on May 2. The arrest is presumed to be founded on a March 6, 2018 indictment, which a US court unsealed today. The indictment charges Assange with conspiracy to commit violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, including accessing classified information, in connection with the leaks of US documents by Chelsea Manning.

“Prosecuting Julian Assange for acts often associated with publishing news of public importance – including sensitive or classified information – has potential to open a dangerous precedent for every news organization,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “The Trump administrations open hostility to mainstream media has contributed to an increasingly dangerous environment for investigative journalism worldwide.”

Many of the actions listed in the indictment, such as holding encrypted chats, concealing a sources identity, or using secure drop boxes, are part and parcel of journalism in the digital age, Human Rights Watch said. Other allegations, such as attempting to “hack” passwords, are based on particular evidence that has yet to be confirmed, disclosed, or explained.

The March 2018 indictment avoids laying Espionage Act charges against a publisher, and focuses on narrower allegations of computer fraud. But the US law they rest on has sweeping and vague proscriptions that have often been criticized as inhibiting digital research. The charges could expand, and sweep in many journalistic practices that are more common than an unsuccessful attempt at password cracking, Human Rights Watch said.

The UK authorities, in deciding whether to extradite Assange to the US, should also take into careful consideration his physical and mental condition as well as the detention conditions that he may be subjected to in the US as a person charged with national security crimes. Mannings solitary confinement and treatment in pretrial detention was sharply criticizedas a violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture by the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.

Ecuador appears to have invited the Metropolitan police into the embassy, with President Lenin Moreno announcing that the withdrawal of Assanges asylum as a “sovereign right” was for various reasons related to conflicts with Ecuadors interests. Ecuador had granted Assange asylum in June 2012 on the basis of what it found was his credible fear of persecution should he be extradited to the US. Human Rights Watch expressed concern that Ecuadors decision on asylum appears to have been withdrawn for reasons that did not address the circumstances giving rise to the initial grant.

“There is a real danger that the Assange case could become a model for governments that seek to punish media for exposing evidence of abuses,” PoKempner said. “The US government should be especially careful not to stretch concepts like conspiracy in ways that could criminalize newsgathering globally and make it harder to expose critical information, including about human rights abuses.”

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“In Limbo” – Poor identification of Missing Leaves Bereaved Families of Mediterranean Migrants

Berlin – A new briefing from IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) shows that thousands..

Berlin – A new briefing from IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) shows that thousands of people lost in the Central Mediterranean crossing have not been identified.

IOMs Missing Migrants Project database has recorded over 15,000 fatalities in the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy since 2014. Yet remains of fewer than 5,000 of those who lost in the dangerous sea crossing – fewer than 1 in 3 – have been recorded as recovered.

Moreover, even among those bodies that have been found, net identification rates in Italy and Malta range around 22 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

By comparison, the Pima County (Arizona) Office of the Medical Examiner – one of the best practices identified in the report – identified 62 per cent of all migrant bodies found between the years 1981 and 2018 in the desert north of Mexico.

This new IOM report points to both the lack of outreach by the Italian authorities and to the absence of a visible and centralized entity to provide support, feedback and transparency for families reporting missing persons as two reasons behind the poor identification rates.

Among the few successful identifications of migrant bodies, well over half of those rendered in Italy are not done forensically. Rather, authorities rely on “visual” identification, usually by families viewing a corpse or examining photographs of the remains. This technique is prone to producing false identifications, while limiting identification to cases in which family members are available to be near sites of shipwrecks in Italy.

For three high-profile shipwrecks, the Italian Special Commissioner for Missing Persons has mobilized a high-quality forensic operation. Even in these limited cases, where comprehensive forensic data have been collected from migrant bodies, few identifications have been made.

Despite a dedicated state-of-the-art forensic operation for the 3 October 2013 shipwreck, in which at least 366 people lost their lives, net scientific identification rates remain at only 8.5 per cent. When surviving family members provided ante-mortem data samples, identification was far more successful: 58.5 per cent of these cases were identified.

The crisis of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean has prompted media attention on the shocking reality of shipwrecks and the bodies they produce, but relatively little focus on the impacts on the families of the dead who are awaiting news of their loved ones. These families are also the victims of the humanitarian disaster ongoing in the Central Mediterranean.

“Thousands of families of missing migrants remain in limbo,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. “They face the disappearance of a loved one that may never be acknowledged or confirmed.”

For more information, please contact Julia Black at IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: [email protected]

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Awareness Campaign Seeks to Protect Venezuelan Migrants from Trafficking and Smuggling Networks

Bogotá – #TuVidaCambia (Your Life Changes) awareness raising campaign has been launched in Colombia ..

Bogotá – #TuVidaCambia (Your Life Changes) awareness raising campaign has been launched in Colombia to protect Venezuelan migrants and refugees from falling prey to trafficking and smuggling networks. This is a common danger Venezuelans face as they migrate through Colombia, as they seek places to settle, or while in transit to other South American destinations, including like Chile, Ecuador and Perú.

Implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with financial support from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), this new campaign is based on a song–#TuVidaCambia—which is, itself, an adaptation of a Venezuelan folk song, Sentir Zuliano*.

The song easily transmits prevention messages during the long and exhausting journeys of refugees and migrants crossing the country who are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking given their significant levels of vulnerability.

Ana Eugenia Durán Salvatierra, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia explained: “The new version of the song is performed by the band Vos y yo, formed by Venezuelan migrants residing in Colombia.”

She added: “The adapted lyric and other components of the campaign, including live presentations and printed and digital materials with prevention messages, support our goal to provide relevant information to raise awareness among refugees and migrants on the dangers of being deceived and compelled to work under forced labour conditions, becoming victims of sexual exploitation or mendicity, among other forms of trafficking in persons crimes.”

Vos y yo, the band that recorded the track, also travelled between Cúcuta, Colombia, the city on the border with Venezuela, and Bogotá, performing before over 1,000 people in some 20 live shows last week.

Venezuelan refugees and migrants received additional messages to prevent them from falling into human trafficking networks. This crime violates human rights and pursues economic or other benefits by exploiting people, both in and outside Colombia.

As of June 2019, over four million Venezuelans have left their country, with neighboring Colombia thus far their main destination, according to the Coordination Platform for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants (R4V). As reported by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by 30th April 2019 nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans remain in Colombia.

Ministry of Interior data reveal that between 2013 and 2018, there were 422 cases registered as victims of trafficking in persons in Colombia. Women accounted for 84 per cent of victims and sexual exploitation was the most frequent modality (60%), followed by forced labour (25%). Out of such cases, 58 per cent of the victims were 18 to 30 years of age.

Since the mid 1990s, IOM together with its global partners has provided protection and assistance to nearly 100,000 men, women and children victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation, slavery and other similar practices, such as domestic servitude or organ removal.

Campaign messages may be disseminated and replicated among refugee and migrant communities, with the hashtag #TuVidaCambia.

  • Norberto Pirela and Joseito Rodríguez composed the original song Sentir Zuliano.

For further information please contact IOM Colombia: Andrea López Pinilla, Email: [email protected], or Karen Mora, Tel: 57)1 639 7777, Email: [email protected]

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Deputy Humanitarian Chief concludes visit to countries affected by Cyclone Idai calling for support

(Lilongwe, 12 June 2019): At the end of a week-long mission to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to se..

(Lilongwe, 12 June 2019): At the end of a week-long mission to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to see first-hand the humanitarian response to Tropical Cyclone Idai, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller called on the world to support the three countries to address the challenges, risks and impacts of extreme weather events and climate change on the most vulnerable. The Cyclone Idai weather system hit the region three months ago, leaving a path of destruction and more than three million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

“While the impact of Cyclone Idai was different in the three countries, this disaster gives us a clear picture of how the effects of climate change are increasing the humanitarian needs of people who are already extremely vulnerable,” said Ms Mueller. “The climate crisis is hurting most those who have done the least to create it.”

In Mozambique, which was affected by two consecutive cyclones, Idai and Kenneth, the deputy humanitarian chief visited Beira, the port city which took the brunt of Idai, and travelled to Dondo, where she met with people who have been resettled after they lost everything. “I am inspired by the incredible resilience of the Mozambican people, who are already rebuilding their lives,” she said. “However, I am deeply concerned for the months ahead, as food insecurity is expected to rise due to the extensive damage to crops and livelihoods. We must ensure that no one is left behind, and that displaced people are resettled in a way that is safe, dignified, voluntary, informed and durable.”

Ms Mueller welcomed the initial outpouring of support and solidarity with Mozambique, but urged the international community to do more. The Humanitarian Response Plan for Mozambique, that calls for US$440 million including the response to Cyclone Idai and Kenneth and the drought in the south, is only 34 per cent funded.

In Zimbabwe, the deputy humanitarian chief visited Chimanimani, one of the locations hardest-hit by Idai, which was already facing a food insecurity crisis before the weather system arrived. “I talked to people who were displaced, most of them women. They told me of how they were already struggling before the storm and, while they are striving to recover, they need support to be more resilient and to improve their lives”, she said.

Ms Mueller stressed during her meetings with the government, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and various ministers, the critical importance of preventing a further deterioration in the situation, as the humanitarian needs across Zimbabwe escalate as a consequence of the pre-existing drought and economic situation. The Zimbabwe Flash Appeal—which covers the drought, economic crisis and Cyclone Idai— is just over 26 per cent funded, with $75 million received out of $294 million required.

In Malawi, the last country visited during the mission, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator visited Chikwawa District, which was impacted by the massive floods caused by the Cyclone Idai weather system in early March. “With the response transitioning from relief to recovery, and a good harvest expected, it is critical that the Government and development partners take this opportunity to tackle the longer-term challenges which cause recurrent humanitarian crises in Malawi. It is also critical to invest in resilience, both of the communities and the national systems,” she said.

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US: Assange’s Possible Extradition Threatens Journalism

The extradition of Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States for alleged computer-..

The extradition of Julian Assange from the United Kingdom to the United States for alleged computer-related crimes could have dangerous implications for journalists in the digital age.Londons Metropolitan Police confirmed Assanges arrest on April 11, 2019 “on behalf of the United States authorities” under an extradition warrant. He was found guilty of breach of bail by a UK court the same day and ordered to appear on extradition charges on May 2. The arrest is presumed to be founded on a March 6, 2018 indictment, which a US court unsealed today. The indictment charges Assange with conspiracy to commit violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, including accessing classified information, in connection with the leaks of US documents by Chelsea Manning.

“Prosecuting Julian Assange for acts often associated with publishing news of public importance – including sensitive or classified information – has potential to open a dangerous precedent for every news organization,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “The Trump administrations open hostility to mainstream media has contributed to an increasingly dangerous environment for investigative journalism worldwide.”

Many of the actions listed in the indictment, such as holding encrypted chats, concealing a sources identity, or using secure drop boxes, are part and parcel of journalism in the digital age, Human Rights Watch said. Other allegations, such as attempting to “hack” passwords, are based on particular evidence that has yet to be confirmed, disclosed, or explained.

The March 2018 indictment avoids laying Espionage Act charges against a publisher, and focuses on narrower allegations of computer fraud. But the US law they rest on has sweeping and vague proscriptions that have often been criticized as inhibiting digital research. The charges could expand, and sweep in many journalistic practices that are more common than an unsuccessful attempt at password cracking, Human Rights Watch said.

The UK authorities, in deciding whether to extradite Assange to the US, should also take into careful consideration his physical and mental condition as well as the detention conditions that he may be subjected to in the US as a person charged with national security crimes. Mannings solitary confinement and treatment in pretrial detention was sharply criticizedas a violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture by the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment.

Ecuador appears to have invited the Metropolitan police into the embassy, with President Lenin Moreno announcing that the withdrawal of Assanges asylum as a “sovereign right” was for various reasons related to conflicts with Ecuadors interests. Ecuador had granted Assange asylum in June 2012 on the basis of what it found was his credible fear of persecution should he be extradited to the US. Human Rights Watch expressed concern that Ecuadors decision on asylum appears to have been withdrawn for reasons that did not address the circumstances giving rise to the initial grant.

“There is a real danger that the Assange case could become a model for governments that seek to punish media for exposing evidence of abuses,” PoKempner said. “The US government should be especially careful not to stretch concepts like conspiracy in ways that could criminalize newsgathering globally and make it harder to expose critical information, including about human rights abuses.”

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“In Limbo” – Poor identification of Missing Leaves Bereaved Families of Mediterranean Migrants

Berlin – A new briefing from IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) shows that thousands..

Berlin – A new briefing from IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) shows that thousands of people lost in the Central Mediterranean crossing have not been identified.

IOMs Missing Migrants Project database has recorded over 15,000 fatalities in the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy since 2014. Yet remains of fewer than 5,000 of those who lost in the dangerous sea crossing – fewer than 1 in 3 – have been recorded as recovered.

Moreover, even among those bodies that have been found, net identification rates in Italy and Malta range around 22 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

By comparison, the Pima County (Arizona) Office of the Medical Examiner – one of the best practices identified in the report – identified 62 per cent of all migrant bodies found between the years 1981 and 2018 in the desert north of Mexico.

This new IOM report points to both the lack of outreach by the Italian authorities and to the absence of a visible and centralized entity to provide support, feedback and transparency for families reporting missing persons as two reasons behind the poor identification rates.

Among the few successful identifications of migrant bodies, well over half of those rendered in Italy are not done forensically. Rather, authorities rely on “visual” identification, usually by families viewing a corpse or examining photographs of the remains. This technique is prone to producing false identifications, while limiting identification to cases in which family members are available to be near sites of shipwrecks in Italy.

For three high-profile shipwrecks, the Italian Special Commissioner for Missing Persons has mobilized a high-quality forensic operation. Even in these limited cases, where comprehensive forensic data have been collected from migrant bodies, few identifications have been made.

Despite a dedicated state-of-the-art forensic operation for the 3 October 2013 shipwreck, in which at least 366 people lost their lives, net scientific identification rates remain at only 8.5 per cent. When surviving family members provided ante-mortem data samples, identification was far more successful: 58.5 per cent of these cases were identified.

The crisis of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean has prompted media attention on the shocking reality of shipwrecks and the bodies they produce, but relatively little focus on the impacts on the families of the dead who are awaiting news of their loved ones. These families are also the victims of the humanitarian disaster ongoing in the Central Mediterranean.

“Thousands of families of missing migrants remain in limbo,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. “They face the disappearance of a loved one that may never be acknowledged or confirmed.”

For more information, please contact Julia Black at IOMs Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: [email protected]

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Awareness Campaign Seeks to Protect Venezuelan Migrants from Trafficking and Smuggling Networks

Bogotá – #TuVidaCambia (Your Life Changes) awareness raising campaign has been launched in Colombia ..

Bogotá – #TuVidaCambia (Your Life Changes) awareness raising campaign has been launched in Colombia to protect Venezuelan migrants and refugees from falling prey to trafficking and smuggling networks. This is a common danger Venezuelans face as they migrate through Colombia, as they seek places to settle, or while in transit to other South American destinations, including like Chile, Ecuador and Perú.

Implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with financial support from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), this new campaign is based on a song–#TuVidaCambia—which is, itself, an adaptation of a Venezuelan folk song, Sentir Zuliano*.

The song easily transmits prevention messages during the long and exhausting journeys of refugees and migrants crossing the country who are at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking given their significant levels of vulnerability.

Ana Eugenia Durán Salvatierra, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia explained: “The new version of the song is performed by the band Vos y yo, formed by Venezuelan migrants residing in Colombia.”

She added: “The adapted lyric and other components of the campaign, including live presentations and printed and digital materials with prevention messages, support our goal to provide relevant information to raise awareness among refugees and migrants on the dangers of being deceived and compelled to work under forced labour conditions, becoming victims of sexual exploitation or mendicity, among other forms of trafficking in persons crimes.”

Vos y yo, the band that recorded the track, also travelled between Cúcuta, Colombia, the city on the border with Venezuela, and Bogotá, performing before over 1,000 people in some 20 live shows last week.

Venezuelan refugees and migrants received additional messages to prevent them from falling into human trafficking networks. This crime violates human rights and pursues economic or other benefits by exploiting people, both in and outside Colombia.

As of June 2019, over four million Venezuelans have left their country, with neighboring Colombia thus far their main destination, according to the Coordination Platform for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants (R4V). As reported by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by 30th April 2019 nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans remain in Colombia.

Ministry of Interior data reveal that between 2013 and 2018, there were 422 cases registered as victims of trafficking in persons in Colombia. Women accounted for 84 per cent of victims and sexual exploitation was the most frequent modality (60%), followed by forced labour (25%). Out of such cases, 58 per cent of the victims were 18 to 30 years of age.

Since the mid 1990s, IOM together with its global partners has provided protection and assistance to nearly 100,000 men, women and children victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation, slavery and other similar practices, such as domestic servitude or organ removal.

Campaign messages may be disseminated and replicated among refugee and migrant communities, with the hashtag #TuVidaCambia.

  • Norberto Pirela and Joseito Rodríguez composed the original song Sentir Zuliano.

For further information please contact IOM Colombia: Andrea López Pinilla, Email: [email protected], or Karen Mora, Tel: 57)1 639 7777, Email: [email protected]

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Deputy Humanitarian Chief concludes visit to countries affected by Cyclone Idai calling for support

(Lilongwe, 12 June 2019): At the end of a week-long mission to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to se..

(Lilongwe, 12 June 2019): At the end of a week-long mission to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to see first-hand the humanitarian response to Tropical Cyclone Idai, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller called on the world to support the three countries to address the challenges, risks and impacts of extreme weather events and climate change on the most vulnerable. The Cyclone Idai weather system hit the region three months ago, leaving a path of destruction and more than three million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

“While the impact of Cyclone Idai was different in the three countries, this disaster gives us a clear picture of how the effects of climate change are increasing the humanitarian needs of people who are already extremely vulnerable,” said Ms Mueller. “The climate crisis is hurting most those who have done the least to create it.”

In Mozambique, which was affected by two consecutive cyclones, Idai and Kenneth, the deputy humanitarian chief visited Beira, the port city which took the brunt of Idai, and travelled to Dondo, where she met with people who have been resettled after they lost everything. “I am inspired by the incredible resilience of the Mozambican people, who are already rebuilding their lives,” she said. “However, I am deeply concerned for the months ahead, as food insecurity is expected to rise due to the extensive damage to crops and livelihoods. We must ensure that no one is left behind, and that displaced people are resettled in a way that is safe, dignified, voluntary, informed and durable.”

Ms Mueller welcomed the initial outpouring of support and solidarity with Mozambique, but urged the international community to do more. The Humanitarian Response Plan for Mozambique, that calls for US$440 million including the response to Cyclone Idai and Kenneth and the drought in the south, is only 34 per cent funded.

In Zimbabwe, the deputy humanitarian chief visited Chimanimani, one of the locations hardest-hit by Idai, which was already facing a food insecurity crisis before the weather system arrived. “I talked to people who were displaced, most of them women. They told me of how they were already struggling before the storm and, while they are striving to recover, they need support to be more resilient and to improve their lives”, she said.

Ms Mueller stressed during her meetings with the government, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and various ministers, the critical importance of preventing a further deterioration in the situation, as the humanitarian needs across Zimbabwe escalate as a consequence of the pre-existing drought and economic situation. The Zimbabwe Flash Appeal—which covers the drought, economic crisis and Cyclone Idai— is just over 26 per cent funded, with $75 million received out of $294 million required.

In Malawi, the last country visited during the mission, the Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator visited Chikwawa District, which was impacted by the massive floods caused by the Cyclone Idai weather system in early March. “With the response transitioning from relief to recovery, and a good harvest expected, it is critical that the Government and development partners take this opportunity to tackle the longer-term challenges which cause recurrent humanitarian crises in Malawi. It is also critical to invest in resilience, both of the communities and the national systems,” she said.

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