News Highlights: EU plans for Syria, Libya, Yemen, New Italy-Libya deal, US sanctions Eritrea

This week’s news highlights include the outcomes of the EU Foreign Affairs Council held in Luxembourg this Monday, an investigation showing little evidence of the allegations of NGO connections with human smugglers in the Mediterranean Sea and an update of the arrivals in EU. A new deal between Italy and Libya on the Libyan Southern border was reached. Eritrea was put under new sanctions by the United States while the flow of people fleeing the country towards South Sudan is increasing.



Europe: Foreign Affairs Council
The European Union started the week focused on Middle-East and Northern Africa. The foreign affairs ministers of the EU Member States, together with the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, unveiled their plans on the actions the EU will undertake to address the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

Europe: Frontex report shows little evidence of NGOs cooperating with smugglers
In the past weeks and months, allegations have been made of connections between NGOs participating in search and rescue operations and people smugglers on the Mediterranean Sea, including by the EU’s border management agency Frontex. The intercept published an investigation that shows that Frontex has little evidence for such allegations.

Europe: fatalities on the Mediterranean Sea
IOM reports the latest trends in migration flows towards Europe, updating the number of arrivals and fatalities within the first quarter of 2017.

North Africa

Italy and Libya: new deal on Libyan southern border
The Italian Minister of Interior Marco Minniti gathered 60 tribal leaders from Libya in order to reach  an agreement on the Libyan southern border control, within the framework of fighting smuggling and human trafficking. Martin Plaut’s article gives some highlights of the context and content of the deal.

Horn of Africa and Middle East 

Eritrea: US imposes new sanctions
A UN report by a Panel of Experts on the implementation of sanctions to North Korea has unveiled that Eritrea is purchasing military equipment from North Korea. The United States decided to impose new sanctions against Eritrea, banning any interaction with the Eritrean navy.

Eritrean Minister of Information sees these sanctions “utterly unjustified” All Africa reports.

Eritrea: the long arm of the regime
The Eritrean regime is highly involved in human trafficking and the people who fled Eritrea are constantly under threat: an article from magazine Mare on Professor Mirjam van Reisen’s findings on human trafficking.

Eritrea: dangerous routes and uncertain futures
Asmarino Independent posted an analysis on the plight of Eritrean refugees, summarizing which routes Eritrean refugees take and what problems they face on the way. Some end up facing persecution in their host countries.

Africa Monitors, meanwhile, reports the rising numbers of Eritreans fleeing to Sudan.

Yemen: war does not stop refugees from coming
In an opinion peace in Al Jazeera, it is reported that between January 2006 and April 2016, more than 700,000 persons crossed from the Horn of Africa to Yemen, although the conflict has been going on for three years. The awareness of the Yemeni situation does not change people’s minds. Idil Osman from SOAS gives her opinion on why this is.

Yemen: UNHCR updates
UN Refugee Agency UNHCR reported on its concerns about the plight of civilians in the western governorate of Taizz, where the hostilities have escalated since January 2017. UNHCR reports that the fighting is affecting medical support, fuel and water supply. The people that are trapped face the risk of running into ongoing fighting or fall victim to mines.

Uganda: 2800 arrivals per day from South Sudan
In March, on average 2800 arrivals from South Sudan were counted coming into Uganda. The Guardian reports on the pioneering reception policy adopted by Uganda, the conditions in the world’s biggest refugee camp and the consequences USA withdrawal of funding.

Sudan: Al-Bashir defines International Criminal Court as “colonial tool”
Amnesty International demanded the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and his surrender to the International Criminal Court (ICC) last week. Omar Al-Bashir said: “Africans were convinced that the ICC is a colonial tool which requires the founding of an African court to achieve justice that is based on evidence, not fabrication and political considerations”.

Africa man-made famine
In South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen 20 million people risk starvation and the causes are not only natural. Food aid is delivery is impeded in South Sudan and Yemen, The Economist reports.

The EEPA-Team