News highlights: Launch of IOM COVID-19 response plan in the Horn, EU countries to relocate unaccompanied minors from Greece, Ship missing in Mediterranean feared capsized

In this week’s news highlights: IOM launches COVID-19 response plan in the East and Horn of Africa; UN Solidarity Flights from Ethiopia; Surge of returnees to Ethiopia; Al-Fashaqa region returns to Sudanese sovereignty, says anonymous informant; Food shortage due to desert locust in the Horn; Eritrean priest wants to help migrants and refugees fleeing Libya; Stampede for food aid in Kenya; KIU adopts online education system: EU countries taking in unaccompanied minors from Greek camps; Malta urged to take in rescued migrants; Controversy around Italy’s quarantining of migrants; European states urged to allow refugee health workers to help; Belgium COVID-19 measure allows asylum seekers to work; Worries about missing migrant ship in Mediterranean; Migrants and refugees flee Tripoli’s quarantined port; And Libyan government (GNA) takes back control over three cities.

News highlights: 85% of arrivals from Libya report subjection to torture, Concerns about refugee camp closure amid COVID-19, Commercial ships used in Libya returns

In this week’s news highlights: Human rights group urge Ethiopia not to close Hitsats refugee camp; COVID-19 reaches Eritrea; Ethiopia takes measures against COVID-19; 64 Ethiopian migrants found dead in a container in Mozambique; African flower sector looses jobs; African nations prepare for their battle against COVID-19; African experts team up to research the novel Coronavirus; 85% of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy report they were tortured in Libya; Commercial ships increasingly used in Libya returns; HRW reports Egyptian security forces torture children; UNHCR temporarily closes two facilities in Libya; UN High Commissioner for Refugees urges countries keep asylum procedures open; UN Special Rapporteur wants Greece to stop rights violations; Unaccompanied minors often disappear from Dutch asylum seeker centers; and Ireland calls upon medically trained refugees and migrants.

Pushbacks at European Union’s external border – the new normal?

Lack of evidence is not the problem. In the last years, different civil society and research organizations have collected numerous testimonies of migrants and refugees that have been violently sent back by authorities after they crossed the border of the Westens Balkans, Morocco, Sebia, Turkey or Belarus into the European Union (EU). In many cases, these people – looking for dignity and international protection – reported abuse, humiliation and beatings. In the so called ‘pushbacks’, access to the asylum procedure is denied; asylum seekers are not registered but immediately returned to the other side of the border. Member of the European Parliament Tineke Strik is worried this inhumane and unlawful way of pushing people out of the EU is becoming a normality. On February 18, during the breakfast briefing organized by the Greens/EFA and the Open Society European Policy Institute; ‘Strengthening borders, weakening the rule of law?’ Strik, together with experts in the field, brought the attention to the pushbacks that take place at EU’s external borders. It was concluded that the approach for EU border control needs to be reconsidered and an independent border control mechanism should be implemented to stop the unlawful pushbacks from happening.