News Highlights: Dutch parliament motion to close Eritrean embassy, businesses shut down in Asmara, EU divided over relocation

In this week’s news highlights: Dutch parliamentarians express their concern over the influence of the Eritrean regime and ask the government to close the Eritrean embassy; European Union sets June 2018 deadline for divisive relocation quota vote if no compromise is found; migration needs long term solutions, says European Commissioner; businesses in Eritrea close in what activists say is a move to control people; Human Rights Watch fears mistreatment of activists in Sudan; more clashes in the Oromia region of Ethiopia; and UN Refugee Agency wants to move 5.000 – 10.000 people out of Libyan detention centres in 2018.

Dutch parliament demands closing of Eritrean embassy

In a debate in the Dutch parliament on Wednesday 20 December, a motion has been issued by parliament members to close the Eritrean embassy. The Dutch parliament and government have debated multiple times in the previous years over intimidation, threats, 2% diaspora tax and the role of the embassy and Eritrean government in the Eritrean diaspora community in the Netherlands. The recent report on the 2% diaspora tax in Europe has further fueled the concerns, and it is now supported by recordings from the Dutch radio programme Argos that show the coercion in action. 

Eritrea: Professor wins Court appeal on statement about Eritrean youth organisation YPFDJ in radio programme

In 2015, Dutch Professor Mirjam van Reisen (Tilburg University, Leiden University) was interviewed by Dutch radio station BNR nieuwsradio about the news that people with ties to the Eritrean regime were employed as interpreters at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). In response to her statements in this interview, the (by now former) chair of the YPFDJ in the Netherlands, the youth department of the Eritrean regime in the Netherlands, started a court case (interim injunction proceedings) against Van Reisen. She won the proceedings, upon which an appeal was started. The court has decided this week to dismiss the case and has ruled that the judge of the interim injuction proceedings had correctly dismissed all claims against Van Reisen.