News Highlights: Human rights report, food crises, Sudan conflict

In this week’s news highlights we will update you about the global human rights situation, Germany’s rising resistance to deport Afghan migrants and recent developments in the Horn of Africa. This includes a media coverage concerning the increasing food crises and controversial cooperation in Sudan to support peace efforts.





Global:The state of the world’s human rights
On Tuesday, 22 February 2017, Amnesty International released its annual report which provides a comprehensive analysis of the human rights situation in 159 countries. The report highlights the growing issue of “politics of demonization” and calls out the rethoric of “us vs. them” as a threat to the global state of human rights.



Germany: Afghan deportations halted
Last week EEPA reported about the increased efforts of the German government to deport Afghan asylum seekers. Germany’s northern federal state Schleswig-Holstein now opposes the government’s order and refuses for “humanitarian reasons” to send anyone back to Afghanistan. The German Bundestag’s human rights commissioner calls for a reassessment of Germany’s integration policy.


Horn of Africa: famine

Horn of Africa: severe food crises 
The continuous drought at the Horn of Africa exacerbates the food crises and causes severe malnutrition of population in the region, hitting Somalia and South Sudan, and is predicted to affect Yemen, Nigeria and Kenya.

According to the the Independent, the the situation will likely be worse than the famine in 2011 which killed 250.000 people through severe lack of food, medication and water supplies. In the meantime, the number of displaced people due to the drought is rising. People in Puntland and Somaliland as well as the areas of Bay and Bakool are particularly affected, according to UNHCR’s press briefing on Tuesday, 21 February 2017.

South Sudan:
South Sudan officially confirmed ongoing famine on Monday, 20 February 2017. EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides considers the food crisis as entirely “man-made” and promises 82 million Euro in emergency aid, EurActive reports. Aljazeera  provides a more in-depth analyses on the topic.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia 
The World Food Programme gives an overview of the situation of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia in its latest drought crisis situation report, released Monday, 20 February 2017. The UN responded with financial aid of 18.5 million USD from the organization’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to tackle the most severe cases of 785,000 people in Ethiopia’s Somali region, which is particularly affected by the drought.


Horn of Africa: Sudan’s conflict

Sudan: peace efforts
On Saturday, 18 February 2017, the Sudan Tribune reported that the peace process in Sudan continues to be supported by European institutions and by Norway, the U.K. and the U.S. According to Sudan Tribune, a joint statement by Norway, U.K. and U.S. urges signatories of the Roadmap Agreement and Sudanese government to end the conflict, to engage in political dialogue and to facilitate much needed humanitarian assistance for people in conflict areas.

Sudan: peace efforts failed and under critique
Following the announced support for peace efforts, the Sudanese army and its allied militia breached the cease-fire with a new military offensive in South Kordofan on Tuesday, 21 February 2017. The South Sudan News Agency criticises the new Trump administration for being highly unaware of the current developments in Sudan – which would require a reinstatement of UN sanctions rather than continued support. Meanwhile Europe aims at keeping Khartoum as a strong partner for the purpose of curbing migration to Europe.

Sudan & the UK: migration talks
The Guardian referred to the UK as one of the “key players” in the controversial efforts to tackle migration from and through Sudan. UK parliament members and NGOs fear that the UK hereby jeopardizes the European Union’s leading reputation in the protection of human rights.

Sudan & Ethiopia: cooperation
Meanwhile, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed on advancing their “economic and political ties” in their annual meeting on Wednesday, 22 February 2017. According to Sudan Tribune, the neighbouring countries decided to combine their efforts to ensure peace and security along their shared border. Other areas of increased cooperation for development concern health, tourism, transport infrastructure and trade.


South Sudan, Eritrea: arbitrary detention
The Sudan Tribune reports about the unlawful abduction of former aide to South Sudan’s Chief Justice Thomas Gama at Juba’s airport by South Sudanese National Security as well of several other arbitrary detentions by Kenyan and South Sudanese authorities. Further arbitrary detentions occurred in Eritrea where government authorities jailed the journalists Abraham Yitbarek and Senait Ekubay who previously served the the state-owned Eritrean Radio and Television Agency.



The EEPA-Team