News Highlights: EU’s return & relocations plans, Horn of Africa reports, resettlement of Eritreans

This week’s news highlights include the outcomes of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held in Brussels this week. News highlight of this week concerning the Europe and North Africa relations is Tripoli’s court block of the Italy-Libya deal on migration. Also, we will update you on the situation of Eritrean refugees in Yemen and Ethiopia, including the impact on their situation due to Trump’s executive order on resettlement. The latest updates concerning the Horn of Africa are three newly released reports covering mixed migration, the drought and children in armed conflict in the region.


Europe and North Africa

Europe: Justice and Home Affairs Council Meeting
This week JHA Council meeting was the first one under the Maltese Council presidency. The agenda focused on the implementation of the Malta declaration on addressing migration along the Central Mediterranean Route. Major issues addressed were the relocation plan, with Commissioner Avramopoulos giving a stern warning to Member States to stop delaying, and a more coordinated and effective plan on returns.

Austria: Resisting Relocation
Ahead of of Commissioner Avramopoulos’s warning on the relocation plan, Austria declared its unwillingness to welcome more asylum seekers and fears the collapse of the EU-Turkey deal.

EU-Turkey Deal: Erdogan threatens EU to tear up deal on migration
Following the worsening of relations between Turkey and some EU Member States due to the Dutch and German refusal to host Turkish government delegates, Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again vowed to re-examine all political and administrative ties with the EU after the constitutional referendum in April.

Libya: Tripoli’s Administrative Court blocks Migration Italy-Libya Deal
The Administrative Section of the Tripoli Court of Appeal blocked further negotiations on the deal between Italy and Libya aiming at tackling migration along the Central Mediterranean route. The court claims that the Libyan Council Presidency lacks the legal status to conclude such an agreement.

Meanwhile another shipwreck caused the deaths of presumably over 200 migrants in Libyan waters, ANSAmed reported on Friday, 24 March 2017.


The Horn of Africa and the Middle East

Yemen: Humanitarian Organisations asks help for Eritreans
Euromed  reports a press release from Human Rights Monitor and the SAM organization for Rights and Liberties denouncing the inhuman conditions to which Eritrean refugees are subjected in Yemeni detention centres. They call for the creation of a safe and secure environment for the Eritrean refugees and offering a resettlement programme.

Ethiopia: impact of Trump’s executive order
The Middle East Eye reports on the impact on Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia of Donald Trump’s executive order that downsized the annual number of refugees for resettlement to the United States. The article highlights the desperation of refugees who had been waiting for resettlement for years and it shows the consequences that follow from the continuous state of uncertainty.

Horn of Africa: report on mixed migration towards South Africa
The Danish Refugee Council  issued an updating report on migratory movements from the Horn of Africa to South Africa and the increasing dangers that this route involves. According to the report, migrant smuggling along this route continues to thrive. Reliefweb gives an overview of the trends and characteristics that define the dynamics in the region.

Horn of Africa: drought action plan
The  UN Food and Agriculture Organisation released its cross-border action plan for the Horn of Africa. Reliefweb gives an overview of the report, including the drought situation and its impact on livestock, migration patterns, access to food and changes in food prices as well as overall the living conditions.

Sudan: armed conflict report on children
The United Nations Secretary General released a report on children and armed conflict in Sudan on Monday, 27 March 2017. The report shows a reduction in child recruitment.  However, atrocities, including abuse, killings and sexual violence, are still ongoing.

Jordan: Amnesty demands arrest and surrender of Sudanese President
Amnesty International demands the arrest of Arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and his surrender to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Omar Al-Bashir arrived yesterday, 29 March 2017, in Amman for the Arab League Summit. Omar Al-Bashir is charged with crimes against humanity among which murder, extermination and rape, as well as genocide.

Sudan: military talks
Senior Sudanese and Ethiopian army officers met on Tuesday, 28 March 2017, in Khartoum to talk about regional security threats including border security and their cooperation to prevent and combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the Sudan Tribune reports.

Ethiopia: citizen released
Ethiopia released 20,659 citizens which were held in custody under the state emergency decree, the Sudan Tribune reported on Tuesday, 28 March 2017. 5.000 are still under arrest and are to be tried, according to the Sudan Tribune.

Eritrea: abuse and death
Two Pentecostal women died in an Eritrean detention centre following a hunger strike to protest the abuse they experienced while being detained, Premier reports. The incident highlights the inhuman treatment of members of religious minority communities under the Eritrean regime.


The EEPA-Team