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.
On February 28, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey “opened the doors” to Europe, warning that “millions” of immigrants would soon be flocking towards the European Union (EU). Over 35.000 refugees gathered at the Greek border only to be stuck there without shelter in the rain and cold upon arrival. Multiple European leaders have expressed their criticism of Turkey using refugees as a bargaining chip. EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell said that “Turkey has a big burden … and we have to understand that […] but at the same time, we cannot accept that migrants are being used as a source of pressure”. Nevertheless, the EU is willing to provide more money to Turkey, financially rewarding the behavior they condemn. A short history of the EU’s external deals shows how this situation evolved.
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.