In this week’s news highlights: COVID-19 infections confirmed in Ethiopia’s largest refugee camp; No further EU funding for roads in Eritrea; Eritrea requested aid from the EU for COVID-19; Eritrea starves Red Sea region under guise of COVID-19; Mixed Migration Centre updates; Locust plague keeps threatening Horn of Africa; Greek coastguard neglects 32 refugees in distress for hours; Pressure against Greece for illegal pushback operations; Immense decline of Eritreans granted refugee status in Germany; Allegations of torture of migrants and refugees by Croat officials; Migrant crossings into Europe on the rise again; Information campaign for MEPs on Mediterranean migration routes; Court case against the EU for forced labour in Eritrea kicks off; 12 people missing after boat capsized off Libyan coast; Libyan Emergency food project by UNHCR and WFP; MSF says COVID-19 exposes failed politics of aid in Libya; HRW urges investigation of war crimes in Libya; COVID-19 impact on migrant smuggling and human trafficking; And IDPs at all time high.
In this week’s news highlights: No improvement in Eritrea’s human rights situation; Eritrean profiles in mixed migration flows; Worries over starvation in Dankalia, Eritrea; Eritrea urged to release political prisoners; Sudanese alleged war criminal in ICC custody; Thousands of Ethiopian migrants return amid COVID-19; Ethiopia’s upper house speaker resigns; UK parliament questions situation in Eritrea; Belgian Parliamentary inquiries about human rights in Eritrea; Sea-Watch 3 sets sail to Libya; Migrants and refugees to relocate from Malta; Declined security in Libya causes more IDPs; Bangladeshi media reports arrests of traffickers related to deaths of 30 migrants in Libya; Attacks against civilians in Libya condemned by Amnesty; 250 refugees and migrants intercepted at sea by Libya; Doctors on the frontline of two Libyan battles; IOM releases guidance on recruitment of migrant workers; UNHCR calls for environmental action to protect refugees; And over 200.000 COVID-19 cases in Africa.
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.