In this week’s news highlights: EU-IOM Joint Initiative fails to support migrants, Euronews reports; Eritrean refugees mistreated in voluntary return programme; Shipwreck off Libyan coast kills several people; Refugees released from detention in Libya; Bangladesh arrests 50 people following migrant murders in Libya; OHCHR to vote on extension mandate of Eritrea Special Rapporteur; Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki visits Sudan for 3-day meeting; African governments urged to reopen borders; Over a thousand migrants stranded in Djibouti due to COVID-19; BBC Tigrinya: People in Eritrea are starving; Violence and child malnutrition worsen in South-Sudan; Focus on sexual and gender-based violence against women; Refugee rights violated, says Human Rights Commissioner; EU officials accused of Croatian migrant abuse cover-up; Family reunification obstacles for Eritrean refugees in Germany; Data leak threatens hundreds of asylum seekers in the Netherlands; Greek journalist alienated due to migration investigation; UK questions human rights situation Eritrea; Austria backs Germany’s hardline migration policy; UNHCR statement in World Refugee Day; Resumption of resettlement flights; And Refugee groups call for more attention for COVID-19 in refugee camps.
Between May 24 and May 27 around 400 migrants and refugees have been picked up by the Libyan coastguard and returned to Libya. Two of them drowned during the operation. An additional 90 migrants and refugees have been stopped by a commercial ship and have been returned to Libya as well. The pushback operations are funded and supported by the European Union (EU) and individual member states like Malta and Italy. While Libya has been an unsafe place from the start of the EU’s so called externalized border policy, COVID-19 brings even more risks as detention camps in Libya are high-risk areas for the spread of the virus and rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea have been minimized. An additional element of danger is the intense civil war in Libya, which has turned into a geopolitical conflict and a proxy war between Russia and The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the one hand and Turkey on the other. The war takes its toll on the civilian population; on June 1 another 5 civilians were killed and 11 wounded in a rocket attack near Tripoli.
This week’s news highlights: Eritrean prisoners defenseless against COVID-19; Eritrea celebrates 29 years of independence amid criticism; Urban refugees face increased struggle for basic needs in East Africa; Ethiopian migrants not aware of risks moving to Saudi Arabia, says IOM; Renewed intercommunal violence South Sudan; Eritrean refugee dies in migrant detention centre in Libya; Hundreds of people intercepted by Libyan coastguard in matter of days; Mercenaries from all over the world keep pouring in Libya despite UN embargo; The story of a boat that left Libya for Europe but disappeared; Greece accused of illegal pushbacks; Malta rescues 140 migrants and refugees in Mediterranean Sea but holds them offshore; France planning to relocate 750 asylum seekers from Greece; Story of how Eritrean child refugee survived shipwreck; EPP launches migration group; Webinar on Sea Rescue; And Oxfam withdraws from 18 countries.