In this week’s news highlights: Hitsats refugee camp closure in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; UN cancels meeting on Eritrea due to Coronavirus; EU-funded road project in Eritrea allegedly uses slave labour; Natasja Bijl’s novel tells the story of an Eritrean refugee; Eritrean persecution of Catholics reinvigorated; the collective trauma of Eritrea’s youth; Somali and Kenyan officials meet to discuss border dispute; EU leaders and Erdogan meet to salvage EU-Turkey deal; UNHCR strengthens COVID-19 measures; Concerns about EU’s new Africa strategy highlighted by aid groups; Greece’s decision to hold migrants on war vessel criticized by HRW; Several EU member states offer to take children in from Greece; Call for better living conditions for asylum seekers in the Netherlands; Suspicions that arms keep pouring into Libya despite embargo; Ramtane Lamamra as possible next UN envoy for Libya; And Sudanese refugees in Niger sentenced for fire in camp.
In this week’s news highlights: EU presents Greece action plan of €700 million; Greece reacts to the situation at the border with Turkey; MSF requests Italy to stop quarantining rescue ships over coronavirus; Professor reflects on 10 years of human trafficking research; Record number of migrants arrive in Malta; Turkey promised Bulgaria that its borders will stay calm; The Netherlands pays fines due to slow asylum procedures; UN bodies to meet on Eritrea in Nairobi on 9 and 10 March – Eritrean diaspora calls for re-assessment of relations; Canadian mining company in Eritrea can be sued in Canada; Troops amass on the Kenya-Somalia border; Refugees prevented from speaking about situation in Sudanese refugee camp; British parliament questions EU’s road project in Eritrea; UN condemns lack of reform in Eritrea; UN urges for protection 56.000 displaced Somalis; Eritrean man dies in Libyan detention centre; Renewed fighting in Libya; And UN’s Ghassan Salamé resigns.
The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak appears to strengthen xenophobia and refuels the migration debate, especially as right-wing politicians try to link the novel Coronavirus to African migrants and refugees coming to Europe. The virus has already infected more than 500 citizens in Europe at the time of writing and new cases are reported every day. In order to prevent the outbreak of the novel virus from becoming a pandemic, travel restrictions have been put in place. Flights to China, Iran and South Korea are cancelled by several countries. Towns in Italy have been ‘put in quarantine’, closed off from the outside world. Some politicians and experts argue stricter travel restrictions are necessary within the Schengen area and want to increase border control. Others state that a travel ban would not help to fight the virus and accuse populist parties of using the outbreak to promote anti-immigration policies.