News highlights: Ethiopia reports arrest of human trafficker Kidane, Coronavirus measures impact refugees and asylum seekers, Schengen external borders closed for 30 days

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.

Refugees as Pawns, a short history of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal until now

On February 28, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey “opened the doors” to Europe, warning that “millions” of immigrants would soon be flocking towards the European Union (EU). Over 35.000 refugees gathered at the Greek border only to be stuck there without shelter in the rain and cold upon arrival. Multiple European leaders have expressed their criticism of Turkey using refugees as a bargaining chip. EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell said that “Turkey has a big burden … and we have to understand that […] but at the same time, we cannot accept that migrants are being used as a source of pressure”. Nevertheless, the EU is willing to provide more money to Turkey, financially rewarding the behavior they condemn. A short history of the EU’s external deals shows how this situation evolved.