News Highlights: Malta Summit Outcomes, humanitarian visas, Dadaab refugee camp stays

In this week’s news highlights, an update about the outcome of the Valletta Summit concerning the increased cooperation between EU and Libya, and developments in and around the Horn of Africa. Another highlight this week is the announcement of the European Court of Justice that released an advice that urges EU member states to issue visas on humanitarian grounds.


EU-Libya Cooperation

Follow-up on Libya: EU-Libya action plan
At the Valletta summit last Friday, 3 February 2017, the EU Council released its action plan for intensified cooperation with Libya. The plan focuses on additional funds for Libya and increased cooperation in Libyan waters. In terms of protection, the EU Council says that it is “seeking to ensure adequate reception capacities.

Follow-up on Libya: critical voices
UNHCR and IOM published a joint statement ahead of the meeting in which they urge the EU not to consider Libya as safe. MSF published critical remarks ahead of the Summit. In addition, a critical joint report was published by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights last December. The report states that human rights violations in Libya are “unimaginable” and abuses of migrants are a result of the breakdown in the crisis-riven country’s justice system.

More in-depth critique is voiced in the following statements and articles:

Political situation in Libya
In a meeting on 8 February 2017 in the UN Security Council, the political situation in Libya was discussed. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission focused on efforts under way to reach an inclusive and sustainable political settlement in Libya but also addressed the human rights situation of refugees in Libya. A briefing on these issues is expected to be forthcoming.

Follow-up on Libya: development at Libya’s coast
Following the action plan, Aljazeera reported last Saturday that 431 people were intercepted  between Thursday and Saturday the same week at the at sea off the town of Sabratha, 70km west of the capital, Tripoli.


Visa Regulation, Developments in the Horn of Africa, Migration Politics in and beyond the EU

EU Politics: push for humanitarian visas
European Court of Justice announced Advocate General Mengozzi’s advice for member states to issue visas on humanitarian grounds in a press release on 7 February 2017 . The announcement follows a complaint against the Belgian state by a Syrian family. The official ruling in the case  is still pending but the ruling could affect policy across all EU member states.

Kenya: no demolition of Dadaab refugee camp
One of the world biggest refugee camps called Dadaab was supposed to be closed by the end of this months and about 260,000 Somali were supposed to be forcibly repatriated. The decision was blocked by the high court judge on the ground that the decision was tantamount to an act of group persecution, the BBC reports.

Switzerland: Eritrean refugee status questioned
According to The Local CH, the Swiss federal administrative court in St Gallen decided last week that granting Eritrean refugees for illegal escape from their home country was a “lax policy”. After a review of the policy, the court ruled that “the illegal exit from (Eritrea) cannot in itself justify recognition as a refugee.”

Horn of Africa: emergency phase due to drought
Mahboub Maalim, the executive secretary of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, said that the drought in the region is alarming. The Daily Notion reports that 20 million people are facing starvation with 11.2 million in dire need of food in the Horn of Africa due to drought. The Ministry of Information of Eritrea reported a good harvest.

Statistic: Migration flows to the EU
The Think Tank of the European Parliament released an infographic that aims to present the latest available data in terms of migrant flows. It covers the detection of illegal crossing along the EU’s external borders and the number of asylum applicants in EU Member States in the year 2016.

EU Africa cooperation: expert view on EU Migration strategy
Sophia Wirsching, expert on migration and development from Brot für die Welt explains in an interview the political strategy behind the migration cooperation of EU member states and the African countries. In her view, compacts like this sacrifice peoples’ lives and fundamental values of the EU. The interview is in German.


The EEPA-Team