EU unable to defend decisions about funds to Eritrea: questions remain unanswered

“In 2019, the EU began to use the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to support the procurement of equipment for a road building project in which it accepts that national service labour (i.e. forced labour conscripts) may be used. How will the Commission independently monitor the human rights impact of its funding, including working conditions?” Member of the Parliament, Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA), asked this written question to the commission on November 4. As of yet, Rivasi did not receive a written reply. Despite the criticism, the EU keeps funding projects in Eritrea and seems unable to defend its decisions.

Criminalisation of Search and Rescue Operations in the Mediterranean Sea

The preamble of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, an instrument applicable to all member states of the European Union (EU) when implementing EU law, holds that “the Union is founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity,” centralising the idea that EU member states must protect human life. Yet, several Southern European Member States have criminalised search and rescue (SAR) operations in the Mediterranean Sea and charged the rescue operations with the criminal act of smuggling. Therefore, the operators face years in prison if convicted. At the same time, the EU has closed down its own SAR operations, relying on its deals with the Libyan coast guard to intercept boats.

News Highlights: Race against time in Libya, Ethiopia’s Sidama people vote for autonomy, Libya returns are refoulement, says EU Commissioner

In this week’s news highlights: The situation in Libya is “a race against time”; Children in Libya are vulnerable and lack protection; IOM wants a different approach in Libya; Overturned boat causes deaths in the Mediterranean Sea; Commissioner for Human Rights addresses human rights violations in the Mediterranean Sea; MSF urges the EU to act on conditions in refugee camps; Greece meets criticism after plans of closing camps; UNDP argues for more evidence-based migration policies; Sidama people in Ethiopia vote in favour of self-governing rights; Prime Minister of Sudan visits Eritrea; US retrieves Ambassador in South Sudan in light of the country failing to form government; and Video allegedly shows military arresting people in Eritrea.