In this week’s news highlights: Human rights group urge Ethiopia not to close Hitsats refugee camp; COVID-19 reaches Eritrea; Ethiopia takes measures against COVID-19; 64 Ethiopian migrants found dead in a container in Mozambique; African flower sector looses jobs; African nations prepare for their battle against COVID-19; African experts team up to research the novel Coronavirus; 85% of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy report they were tortured in Libya; Commercial ships increasingly used in Libya returns; HRW reports Egyptian security forces torture children; UNHCR temporarily closes two facilities in Libya; UN High Commissioner for Refugees urges countries keep asylum procedures open; UN Special Rapporteur wants Greece to stop rights violations; Unaccompanied minors often disappear from Dutch asylum seeker centers; and Ireland calls upon medically trained refugees and migrants.
“Coronavirus will decimate refugee communities if we don’t act now,” a serious warning from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) that addresses the vulnerable situation of millions displaced people around the world. Secretary General of NRC, Jan Egeland, foresees a “catastrophe” with “devastating” consequence if the virus hits one of the overcrowded and sanitation lacking refugee or displacement sites. The same sentiment was echoed by the Head of Health for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Dr Esperanza Martinez, who said that the spread of the virus would be “impossible to manage” if it reached the displaced communities of Syria or Yemen. Health organizations have made a number of recommendations to protect against COVID-19, but unfortunately many refugees live in a situation in which they themselves as well as their host government cannot follow healthcare guidelines.
In this week’s news highlights: UNHCR and IOM temporarily suspend refugee resettlement; Mixed Migration Centre criticizes ‘root cause’ approach to migration; COVID-19 could “decimate” refugee communities; Ethiopia reports the arrest of notorious human trafficker Kidane Zekarias Haftemariam and five others; 77.6 million dollar aid plan for Ethiopia; Refugees concerned about digital registration; UN Security Council proposes to end UNAMID mission in Darfur, Sudan; Nevsun’s Eritrea-slavery case has legal implications for other Canadian companies, EU closes the external Schengen borders for 30 days, exempting those seeking international protection; Migrants on Greek islands can receive 2.000 euro in new voluntary return initiative; Human traffickers sentenced to 125 years by Turkish court; Child dies in Lesbos refugee camp fire; The Netherlands closes asylum seekers’ centres for new inhabitants amid COVID-19 measures; Registration of asylum applications suspended in Belgium amid COVID-19 measures; Malta accused of ignoring distress calls; UN and IOM decry return of a refugee boat to Libya; And International community calls for a ceasefire in Libya to focus on COVID-19.