News in Brief 13 December 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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The Libyan city of Benghazi. Photo: UNSMIL / Iason Athanasiadis

Migrants in Libya "treated as animals" in detention

In Libya, fresh evidence has emerged that tens of thousands of migrants are subjected to serious human rights abuses and "treated as animals", the UN has announced.

From arbitrary detention to beatings with sticks, rocks and bricks, investigators say that individuals hoping to use the north African country as a stepping-stone to Europe face torture, forced labour and sexual exploitation too.

The findings come in a report published jointly by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR).

It highlights how migrants are routinely held in overcrowded state-run detention centres where detainees are forced to defecate and urinate in their cells.

One 16-year-old migrant from Eritrea told the UN that he was held by smugglers and beat him with whatever they could lay their hands on.

"We are called animals and are treated as animals," the boy told the report's authors.

Mosul offensive displaces nearly 10,000 Iraqis in a week

Thousands of people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance are continuing to flee the Iraqi city of Mosul, the UN has said, some with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in the past week alone, it registered more than 9,800 displaced Iraqis at an emergency site south of the Iraqi city, where ISIL extremists are holding out against government forces.

More than 93,000 people have now been displaced since the Iraqi military offensive began in October.

Here's IOM spokesperson Joel Millman:

"All we know for sure is that the flows are becoming as robust as we thought earlier this year. We know that most of the migrants coming out are coming from the central part of Mosul and we know that the means of leaving the city have grown more difficult because the bridges that cross the Tigris river have all been destroyed, and we hear that people are actually swimming in these winter waters to leave the city and are having to leave most of their things behind."

Atlantic waves goodbye to old record

A new world record wave height of 19 meters, or just over 62 feet, has been measured by an automated buoy in the North Atlantic, the World Metreological Organization (WMO) has confirmed.

The wave, recorded in February 2013 between Iceland and the United Kingdom, followed the passage of a "very strong cold front", which produced winds of up 50 miles per hour.

WMO provides meteorological data in part to ensure the safety of ships.

WMO's Clare Nullis was asked if global warming had played a role.

"Obviously there is a big interaction between global warming and the oceans. But in this specific case, it’s a part of the Atlantic, which is very well-known for having high waves. It’s to do with a lot of different factors.”

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 2’47″

 

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