In this week’s news highlights: Ethiopia reduces Eritrean refugee registration by lifting prima facie status; Ethiopia postpones elections due to COVID-19; New Sudanese government needs international support to curb COVID-19; Uganda closes its borders to refugees; Eritrea called upon to release prisoners of conscience; First COVID-19 cases in Greek refugee camp; Cyprus pushes boat with refugees back to sea; Experts call upon the EU to revise migration policy; Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic broke EU law; EU to monitor arms-embargo Libya; Merchants ships returning refugees to Libya may be prosecuted; New NGO rescue mission in the Mediterranean; 1.600 attacks targeting refugees and asylum seekers in Germany; Germany considers asking refugee help; Stateless people could be denied healthcare; UN agencies urge protection of migrants and refugees; North Africa has most reported COVID-19 cases in Africa; Forcibly displaced people and migrants priority to curb COVID-19; And people leave big African cities due to coronavirus.
“Coronavirus will decimate refugee communities if we don’t act now,” a serious warning from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) that addresses the vulnerable situation of millions displaced people around the world. Secretary General of NRC, Jan Egeland, foresees a “catastrophe” with “devastating” consequence if the virus hits one of the overcrowded and sanitation lacking refugee or displacement sites. The same sentiment was echoed by the Head of Health for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Dr Esperanza Martinez, who said that the spread of the virus would be “impossible to manage” if it reached the displaced communities of Syria or Yemen. Health organizations have made a number of recommendations to protect against COVID-19, but unfortunately many refugees live in a situation in which they themselves as well as their host government cannot follow healthcare guidelines.
In this week’s news highlights: UNHCR and IOM temporarily suspend refugee resettlement; Mixed Migration Centre criticizes ‘root cause’ approach to migration; COVID-19 could “decimate” refugee communities; Ethiopia reports the arrest of notorious human trafficker Kidane Zekarias Haftemariam and five others; 77.6 million dollar aid plan for Ethiopia; Refugees concerned about digital registration; UN Security Council proposes to end UNAMID mission in Darfur, Sudan; Nevsun’s Eritrea-slavery case has legal implications for other Canadian companies, EU closes the external Schengen borders for 30 days, exempting those seeking international protection; Migrants on Greek islands can receive 2.000 euro in new voluntary return initiative; Human traffickers sentenced to 125 years by Turkish court; Child dies in Lesbos refugee camp fire; The Netherlands closes asylum seekers’ centres for new inhabitants amid COVID-19 measures; Registration of asylum applications suspended in Belgium amid COVID-19 measures; Malta accused of ignoring distress calls; UN and IOM decry return of a refugee boat to Libya; And International community calls for a ceasefire in Libya to focus on COVID-19.