The legality of the road building project in Eritrea funded by European Union (EU) under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been questioned on the territory of the European institutions over the past week. On 14 February, the European Commission Directorate General on International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) held a Round Table meeting with several NGOs and on 18 February, the Committee on Development (DEVE) of the European Parliament dedicated a part of its agenda to the EU development aid in Eritrea. During both events representatives of the European Commission, civil society as well as members of the parliament were presenting their points of view.
Lack of evidence is not the problem. In the last years, different civil society and research organizations have collected numerous testimonies of migrants and refugees that have been violently sent back by authorities after they crossed the border of the Westens Balkans, Morocco, Sebia, Turkey or Belarus into the European Union (EU). In many cases, these people – looking for dignity and international protection – reported abuse, humiliation and beatings. In the so called ‘pushbacks’, access to the asylum procedure is denied; asylum seekers are not registered but immediately returned to the other side of the border. Member of the European Parliament Tineke Strik is worried this inhumane and unlawful way of pushing people out of the EU is becoming a normality. On February 18, during the breakfast briefing organized by the Greens/EFA and the Open Society European Policy Institute; ‘Strengthening borders, weakening the rule of law?’ Strik, together with experts in the field, brought the attention to the pushbacks that take place at EU’s external borders. It was concluded that the approach for EU border control needs to be reconsidered and an independent border control mechanism should be implemented to stop the unlawful pushbacks from happening.
In this week’s news highlights: World leaders back ceasefire in Libya; EU to change Operation Sophia; Refugees and migrants drafted to fight in Libya; Young Eritrean boy dies in Libyan detention center; Lack of asylum law in Tunisia puts asylum seekers in vulnerable position; UN ruling states that climate refugees should not be sent back; EU criticised for its asylum ploicy; EU Arms industries influence migration policies; Demonstation of Eritrean refugees in Slovenia; New EU migration policy might be on its way; Unrest at the Sudan-Eritrea-Ethiopia border; Sexual abuse worsened for Eritrean women in conscription after the independece war; Large share of the population has left Eritrea; And books show new perspective on migration and human trafficking.