In this week’s news highlights: UNHCR in Libya accused of neglect and mismanagement in 4-part investigation; First group of people evacuated from Libya to Rwanda; Returnees flee after arrival in Libya; IOM urges closure of Tajoura detention centre; New Country of Origin Information on Eritrea confirms no change in human rights; RSF accused of pressuring the European Union; Bad conditions at Shagarab Camp in Sudan; Belgian and Eritrean Catholic Church representatives meet in Belgium; Three Jehovah’s Witnesses imprisoned for 25 years in Eritrea; Operation Sophia continues for an additional six months; Two people die in a fire at Greek refugee camp; Greece calls for help from other EU member states and Frontex; and Germany strengthens random checks at borders.
In the light of last week’s agreement on a new, temporary relocation system, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in the European Parliament organised a hearing on October 3rd on the topic of ‘Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean Sea’. The debate touched upon core issues of the EU’s obligation, both legally and morally, to rescue people at sea. The debate precedes a renewed member state discussion about refugee relocation on 8 October.
On September 23, the interior ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Finland and Malta agreed on a temporary and voluntary scheme to divide migrants that arrive or are saved from the Mediterranean Sea among the five countries, outside of an EU framework. The proposal aims at relieving Italy and Malta from the high number of migrants and refugees that are arriving at their ports and moves away from the actions of the previous Italian government led by Matteo Salvini, who forbade several rescue boats to dock in Italy. The five countries hope that the scheme may set up an EU-wide relocation scheme that can increase the efficiency of resettling those rescued at sea.