Closed borders and COVID-19, the difficulty for refugees

The world’s 70 million displaced people are one of the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19 while having the least tools to combat it. With COVID-19 spreading across the globe many countries have closed their borders, including for refugees. At present, 93% of the world population lives in countries with border restrictions for non-citizens and 39% live in countries completely closed to non-citizens. Countries that have traditionally welcomed many refugees are closing their borders and reception facilities. This has resulted in uncertain and dangerous situations for refugees. Meanwhile, organizations like the World Health Organizations (WHO) question the long-term merits of closing the border.

News highlights: Hitsats camp shutdown announced in Ethiopia, Attempt to resuscitate EU-Turkey deal, UNHCR bolsters COVID-19 measures

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.