News Highlights: human trafficking book, EU-Eritrea cooperation, aid for famine

In this week’s news highlights we will share with you: the book launch of Human Trafficking and Trauma in the Digital Era: The Ongoing Tragedy of Trade in Refugees from Eritrea and the latest political events that give an overview of Europe’s tendencies in migration politics. In the Horn of Africa, famine is increasing but international response is reluctant. Also included: increasing human rights abuses in South Sudan, cross-border attacks between Ethiopia and South Sudan and an update on Ethiopia’s state of emergency.



The Horn of Africa and Europe

Netherlands: book launch on human trafficking
Last Friday, 10 March 2017, Professor at Tilburg University and Leiden University Mirjam van Reisen and Professor Munyaradzi Mawere from Great Zimbabwe University launched their new book entitled Human Trafficking and Trauma in the Digital Era: The Ongoing Tragedy of Trade in Refugees from Eritrea. The book sheds new light on the thriving business of human trafficking for ransom and presents findings that suggest the involvement of the Eritrean government in the trafficking.

The book launch was followed by the inaugural lecture by Prof. Mirjam van Reisen. In her speech, Prof. van Reisen reflected on new ways of sustainable and efficient international cooperation in the digital area.

Europe: talks with Asmara
The Swiss Tagblatt reported that a joint delegation of Norway, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland held discussions with Yemane Gebreab, Eritrea’s head of political affairs. Further discussions are set to take place in spring. According to the Tagblatt the goal was to set a “foundation of trust” to pave the way for further dialogs on human rights, aid and migration. The article is in German. EEPA will keep you informed on the progress of this story.

Europe: further cooperation with Asmara
Controversial efforts to cooperate with other refugee-producing countries to curb migration is increasing in many EU countries. Martin Plaut gives a critical overview of the recent dialogs and deals between EU member states and Afwerki’s regime which ignore human rights abuses in Eritrea and do not appear to be very effective.

UK: aid agencies’ joint appeal
Aid agencies launched a joint appeal to raise money to provide humanitarian aid and relieve the hunger at the Horn of Africa. In a video UK Government’s Disasters Emergency Committee appeals to the public to end the humanitarian crisis which causes more than 16 million people suffering from severe hunger.

Eritrea: famine but no aid
The critical situation of drought and famine is increasing in Eritrea but the plight of the people is ignored by the country’s President Isaias Afwerki and by the international community, Martin Plaut criticises. In The Conversation he argues that the international community should step up to persuade the regime to let aid get though in this urgent time of need.

Germany: phony strategy to tackle famine
Ludger Schadomsky analyses the root causes of the famine at the Horn of Africa and considers the German “Marshall Plan with Africa” another attempt to keep migrants out but not an efficient recovery programme.  In DeutscheWelle he predicts that with such “dubious deals” Germany already fuels the next famine crisis.

Turkey: migration deal
Yesterday, 15 March 2017, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened to suspend the refugee deal with the EU, after rising tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands and Germany.

Germany: deportation lottery
In an in-depth article, Spiegel Online reports about the arbitrary system that decides whether rejected asylum seekers can stay or not. The article highlights the political divide in Germany over this issue but also covers the frustration among citizens and asylum seekers alike that this lottery system negatively affects well-integrated and law-abiding people.


Horn of Africa

Ethiopia: report on trafficked domestic workers
SIHA released a new gender-sensitive study. The report covers the experiences and impacts of migration on the lives of Ethiopian women. The study looks at their mental health and their ability to reintegrate into society.

Ethiopia: state of emergency partly lifted
On Wednesday, 15 March 2017, Ethiopia’s government lifted parts of the state of emergency, according to News24. Governmental officials announced the ending of arbitrary arrest without court orders, the lifting of bans on radio, television and theatre and the lifting of the curfew.

Ethiopia: cross-border attacks by South Sudan
According to Ethiopia’s governmental officials, 1000 South Sudan gunmen crossed Gambella region and killed 28 people and kidnapped 43 children, Aljazeera reports. The incident in the remote area of Ethiopia happened last Sunday and Monday.

South Sudan: massive human rights violations increase
Yasmin Sooka, chairwoman of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan presented a new report on the situation on the ground last Tuesday, 14 March 2017. The report reveals an increasing deterioration of the situation in the recent months. The UN official called for an impartial and independent investigation by the United Nations to look into reports of crimes committed in South Sudan, VOA reports.


The EEPA-Team