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North Africa Politics

Libya’s Prime Minister Withdraws Resignation

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Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj on Friday withdrew his decision to resign and will remain in office until the ongoing intra-Libyan political dialogue is concluded.

The 60-year-old is the head of the Tripoli-based internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

Al-Serraj’s decision comes a day after the High Council of State urged him to stay until a new Presidential Council is selected – to avoid a potential political vacuum, which could come at a detriment to the country’s stability.

The United Nations’ Support Mission in Libya and the country’s parliament in Tripoli also urged the Prime Minister to defer his resignation, citing reasons of higher national interest.

Al-Serraj announced his plans to resign in September, noting that he would hand over power no later than the end of October, as part of a historic deal to end years of conflict with a rival political faction led by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Last week, the two warring sides signed an agreement in Geneva for a permanent ceasefire, stating that all foreign fighters and mercenaries are to leave the country within the next three months; and are due to hold in-person negotiations to discuss national elections and the reunification of the armed forces.

Libya descended into a state of civil war after the overthrow and killing of strongman nationalist leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The North African country was split between two main factions – the GNA in Tripoli, backed by Turkey and Qatar, and Haftar’s forces in the east, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

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South Sudan Appoints Awut Deng Acuil as First Woman to Chair University Governing Council

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South Sudan has appointed Awut Deng Acuil to chair the governing council of the University of Bahr El-Ghazal.

Acuil, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from August 2019 until March 2020 and the current Minister of General Education and Instructions, became the first woman to be appointed to chair the governing body of a university.

Her appointment was announced in a presidential decree read on the national broadcaster, the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation.

The university was established in 1991, when South Sudan was still part of Sudan. The country gained its independence in 2011

Acuil was also the first woman to serve as South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

She relinquished the post following the appointment of a unity government in February to end the conflict between rival groups in South Sudan.

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North Africa Politics

Italy Secretly Repatriating Undocumented Tunisians – Official

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Italy has continued the repatriation of undocumented Tunisians by secret flights that land at Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport, 100 kms south of Tunis, a security source in the Tunisian capital said on Saturday.

The Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport received flights on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with between 20 and 40 young Tunisians expelled by the Italian authorities, the source said.

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said recently that Italy has recorded an increase in the flow of migrants since the beginning of the year, reaching 32,000 people of whom 12,000, representing 38.7 percent, were of Tunisian nationality.

The minister had discussed with Tunisian President Kais Saeid the issue of illegal migration and forced repatriation of illegal migrants arriving in Italy via the Mediterranean.

On 10 August, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, warned that “Tunisians arriving in Italy by boat will be repatriated at the rate of 80 weekly flights”.

Many civil society organisations in Tunisia have demanded the publication of the results of the negotiations between the Tunisian authorities and their Italian counterparts on the repatriation of Tunisians and the revision of the bilateral agreements on clandestine migration signed by the two governments.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, the Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights, the Euro-Mediterranean Commission and the European Union have called for the humane treatment of migrants by providing them with protection instead of forced repatriation.

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North Africa Politics

Algerian Lawmakers Approve Death Penalty For Child Abductors

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Algeria’s National People’s Assembly (First Chamber of Parliament) has approved a new bill that provides the death penalty for child abductors.

The proposed new law provides harsher punishments for offenders convicted of crimes of abduction involving children.

The death penalty has not been formally abolished in Algeria but it has also not been implemented since 1993, and that was in a terrorism case.

The new bill has to go through a second reading in the Council of the Nation before it becomes law.

The draft law comes after Algeria witnessed an increase in incidents of kidnapping and killing of children and female minors.

Last weekend, Minister of Justice Belkacem Zaghmati hinted that discussions were underway regarding a draft law to combat crimes of child abduction.

Zaghmati said: “We can resume the death penalty [as stipulated by law]. Do not be surprised if this punishment is applied in the future if necessary,” adding that there is a discussion at the national and international levels between supporters and abolishers.

“Algeria is a sovereign state and it is free to apply the death penalty. There is no local or global objection to that,” in reference to pressure exerted by international human rights organisations to abolish capital punishment.

“Algeria has not signed or ratified any international agreement that prohibits the use of the death penalty. If necessary, the death penalty will be resumed,” the minister continued.

Algeria suspended the death penalty in 1993 due to local and international accusations that the authorities were using executions to take revenge on opponents.

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