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.
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.
In this week’s news highlights: Ethiopia reduces Eritrean refugee registration by lifting prima facie status; Ethiopia postpones elections due to COVID-19; New Sudanese government needs international support to curb COVID-19; Uganda closes its borders to refugees; Eritrea called upon to release prisoners of conscience; First COVID-19 cases in Greek refugee camp; Cyprus pushes boat with refugees back to sea; Experts call upon the EU to revise migration policy; Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic broke EU law; EU to monitor arms-embargo Libya; Merchants ships returning refugees to Libya may be prosecuted; New NGO rescue mission in the Mediterranean; 1.600 attacks targeting refugees and asylum seekers in Germany; Germany considers asking refugee help; Stateless people could be denied healthcare; UN agencies urge protection of migrants and refugees; North Africa has most reported COVID-19 cases in Africa; Forcibly displaced people and migrants priority to curb COVID-19; And people leave big African cities due to coronavirus.