The number of asylum seekers and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy has surged this year, according to EU officials. More than 56,000 people have made the journey–almost double the total over the same period last year. The increase prompted Italy’s government to declare a six-month state of emergency in April, in part to address overcrowding at a center for those who arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa. But experienced aid workers say the focus on numbers is distracting from the real issues: dire conditions in North Africa—most recently Tunisia—pushing more people to take dangerous journeys at sea; and an Italian migration reception system near collapse due to years of politicization and neglect. (Photo: Sara Creta/TNH)
The number of judicial executions recorded globally in 2022 reached the highest figure in five years, according to Amnesty International’s annual review of the death penalty. Excluding the thousands believed to have taken place in China, a total of 883 executions were recorded across 20 countries, marking a 53% increase from the previous year. The Middle East and North Africa region saw a significant rise in executions, with Saudi Arabia executing 81 people in a single day in March 2022 out of a year total of 196, while Iran executed a record-high 576 individuals. Three countries in the region, including Egypt, accounted for 90% of known executions outside of China. The true global figure is likely much higher due to secrecy surrounding the use of the death penalty in certain countries. China is believed to have remained the world’s most prolific executioner. (Photo: ICHRI)
Authorities in Sierra Leone imposed a nationwide curfew amid anti-government protests, in which a still undetermined number of people have been killed, apparently including at least four police officers. In the capital Freetown, protesters barricaded the streets and clashed with security forces, enraged at a 40% spike in the cost of living. A key demand is the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio, who is on a month-long vacation with his family in London—a trip apparently paid for with misappropriated public funds. The government has shut down internet access in the country to prevent activists from issuing calls to protest and spreading images of the repression. President Bio has long been accused of rampant corruption and human rights abuses. (Image: Africa Facts Zone via Twitter)
A trial opened in Switzerland for the first Liberian to face war crimes charges over atrocities during the country’s brutal internal conflict in the 1990s. Former warlord Alieu Kosiah stands accused of murder, rape, recruiting child soldiers, and numerous other crimes during the first of Liberia’s two civil wars, which together killed some 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003. Kosiah, who had been living in Switzerland since 1999, was arrested in November 2014 for atrocities he allegedly committed as a commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia (ULIMO) between 1993 and 1995. A group of Liberian victims is being represented by the Swiss human rights group Civitas Maxima. The case is being heard under the principle of universal jurisdiction. (Photo: IRIN via JusticeInfo)
Some of those slain at Charleston's Mother Emanuel church were members of the Gullah people, a "nation within a nation" that preserves West African cultural traditions.
The UN Special Court for Sierra Leone rejected an appeal by former Liberian president Charles Taylor of his convictions for war crimes.
Former Liberian president Charles Taylor began his appeal in The Hague of his conviction and 50-year sentence for war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone.