In this week’s news highlights: European Parliament Development Committee discusses road project in Eritrea; Statement proposes EU benchmarks for progress in Eritrea, Spain returns did not break European law according to ECHR; Attacker of Eritrean journalist in London found guilty; Greece’s plans for new refugee detention centres delayed after protests; Two refugee boats missing in the Mediterranean; Pregnant African women disappear from Dutch asylum seeker centres; UN urges international community to take action against the locust plagues in East Africa; Ethiopia adopts tool for protecting Internally Displaced Persons; UN reviews Eritrean women’s rights; Bribes at refugee camp Sudan; Operation Sophia to enforce weapon embargo Libya as primary aim; Migrants and refugees in Tripoli increasingly vulnerable; and Tunisian refugee camp build for deported refugees from the EU, says journalist.
The legality of the road building project in Eritrea funded by European Union (EU) under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been questioned on the territory of the European institutions over the past week. On 14 February, the European Commission Directorate General on International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) held a Round Table meeting with several NGOs and on 18 February, the Committee on Development (DEVE) of the European Parliament dedicated a part of its agenda to the EU development aid in Eritrea. During both events representatives of the European Commission, civil society as well as members of the parliament were presenting their points of view.
Lack of evidence is not the problem. In the last years, different civil society and research organizations have collected numerous testimonies of migrants and refugees that have been violently sent back by authorities after they crossed the border of the Westens Balkans, Morocco, Sebia, Turkey or Belarus into the European Union (EU). In many cases, these people – looking for dignity and international protection – reported abuse, humiliation and beatings. In the so called ‘pushbacks’, access to the asylum procedure is denied; asylum seekers are not registered but immediately returned to the other side of the border. Member of the European Parliament Tineke Strik is worried this inhumane and unlawful way of pushing people out of the EU is becoming a normality. On February 18, during the breakfast briefing organized by the Greens/EFA and the Open Society European Policy Institute; ‘Strengthening borders, weakening the rule of law?’ Strik, together with experts in the field, brought the attention to the pushbacks that take place at EU’s external borders. It was concluded that the approach for EU border control needs to be reconsidered and an independent border control mechanism should be implemented to stop the unlawful pushbacks from happening.