News highlights: EU-Libya migration deal, downplaying human rights abuses, drought

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos paves the way for new agreements with Libya and closing the Central Mediterranean route.

In this week’s news highlights, we would like to update you among other things on the latest events concerning the recently announced EU measurements to reduce migration on the Central Mediterranean Route, the UK’s and Israel’s strategy to downsize the number of Eritrean asylum seekers, and more on drought in the Horn of Africa.

Libya: migration compact
On January 25th, the European Commission announced to provide additional support to the Libyan coast guard, to strengthen border authorities in North African countries and to increase the number of returns in order to reduce migration flows along the Central Mediterranean route. Despite great human rights concern expressed by critics, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini is convinced that this will reduce human suffering and the loss of lives in the Central Mediterranean.

More on the EU-Libya cooperation will be discussed next week Friday, February 3rd, in a high-level meeting at the European Council.The 28 EU heads of state of government are expected to focus their discussions on the Central Mediterranean route and Libya.

UK: downplaying human rights abuses in Eritrea
Last Sunday, the Guardian reported that the UK Home Office government downplayed the risk of human rights abuses in Eritrea in an attempt the numbers of asylum seeker numbers. Internal documents revealed that a new guidance with lower grant rates for Eritrean refugees was issued in March 2015, despite the doubts from its own experts. The new guidance was used to excluding almost all Eritrean children in the Calais refugee camp aged 13-15, the Guardian says.

Israel: Denial of human rights abuses in Eritrea
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 reports about the approach to Eritrean asylum seekers by the Israeli government. The article gives account of the risks Eritreans face in case of deportation to their country and uncovers the strategies of the Israeli government to hide country assessments by experts from the public to facilitate the return of asylum seekers.

Eritrea: Perils on route
Africa Monitors interviewed a young Eritrean woman who fled the repressive regime in her home country. In this interview she tells the story her journey, why she decided to leave and what kind of struggles she encountered on route. Owing to the traumatising experiences she had to live through, she calls on other Eritreans, “[…] (e)specially women, to stay where they are with patience.”

Horn of Africa: drought and famine
Last week, the Inter Agency Working Group on Disaster Preparedness for East and Central Africa released paper covering the extend of the recent drought at the Horn of Africa. The paper reports about the failure of rains in 2016, leading to more than 15 million people facing food and water shortages in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya with a possible new famine in Somalia on the rise.

Africa Review provides some insight in the severity of this drought, how it affects the lives of individuals in Somalia and what the national and international community does to cope with the dire situation:



The EEPA team