News highlights: Arrests in Eritrea, Fortress Europe, RSF Act in Sudan

In this week’s news highlights, we would like to update you on the latest events concerning recent developments related to the Horn of Africa, outcomes of the debate on migration with the new Maltese presidency in the European parliament and EU’s migration strategy.



Eritrea – arbitrary arrests
Earlier this week, the rfiAfrique reported the arrest of at least five Eritreans, as stated by radio Erena. The Eritreans all worked in video production, reportedly providing content to a YouTube channel that was popular among the Eritrean youth. The Eritrean government has not officially charged them and their whereabouts are unknown.

COI report Eritrea
Recently, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung released an article titled “Not everything is that bad in Eritrea, is it?” (orig.: Alles gar nicht so schlimm in Eritrea?) in which European diplomats raise doubts about the credibility of the United Nations COI report in 2016 concerning the human rights situation in Eritrea. EEPA responded to this critique. with the article below.

Migration & EU Parliament: EU Council presidency priorities
Last week, the civil liberties committee of the European Parliament held a meeting with Maltese minister Carmelo Abela to discuss the the priorities of its presidency at the EU Council. Parliament members expressed their concern about the return of asylum seekers to Greece, the EU Turkey statement, the lack of protection for unaccompanied and the insufficient provisions of legal pathways for combating irregular migration.

Europe’s Fortress
Martin Plaut and Leonardo Vincent report about EU member states’ political strategies to minimise the number of refugees coming to Europe by finding various ways of increased efforts to seal themselves off.

Sudan: Sudanese army includes militia
On Monday, the Sudanese parliament passed the Rapid Support Forces Act which integrates the notorious RSF militia in the Sudanese army and provides that its commander be appointed by the President of the Republic. The Act is disputed for having insufficient provisions to ensure that the militia will be under the control of the Sudan Armed Forces, and opponents of the government demand elements of the RSF militia be hold accountable for war crimes in Darfur.

Sudan & U.S.: sanctions lifted
Last week, the U.S. Department of state announced the removal of the trade embargo with Sudan and unblocking of the assets of the Sudanese Government. U.S. senior administrations officials say that the lifting of the sanctions is  a result of “sustained intensive engagement” with Sudan over the last six months and Sudan’s progress in certain “key areas” such as conflict, prevention of terrorism and humanitarian provision. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the license remains provisional for six months and can be revoked at any time if bilateral engagements proof to be unstable.