News Highlights: Eritrean conference in the Netherlands, Slave markets in Libya

In this week’s news highlights, the Dutch-Eritrean community and Dutch politicians are disturbed by an Eritrean conference with a high-level official in attendance, a report shows possible scenarios for Europe’s refugees and migrants, and IOM has disturbing reports on slave markets and extortion in Libya. In the Horn of Africa, Djibouti hosts many refugees and there are reports of child abduction in Ethiopia by a South Sudanese tribe. Furthermore, there are concerns about how EU aid is affecting Sudan’s “militia state”.




Netherlands: Anger over Eritrean conference
This Easter weekend, from 13-17 April, the youth wing of Eritrea’s only party PFDJ will hold a conference in the Netherlands. Members of the Eritrean community in the Netherlands have filed reports with the police due to the threatening presence of Yemane Gebreab, the right hand of the Eritrean President. The Dutch government feels uncomfortable with Yemane’s presence, who is accused of crimes against humanity, but will not stop the meeting. Dutch media has been reporting extensively on the conference and Martin Plaut has an English report on the concerns of the Dutch-Eritreans and Dutch public security.

Europe: Four Possible scenarios for Europe and the Refugee/Migration Crisis
The International Federation of Red Cross and ACAPS issued a report on the possible future scenarios that migratory movements could develop into within the following months.

Europe: time to prioritize development over security in African countries
In an opinion piece, Shannon Ebrahim expresses her concerns over the European attempts to tackle the refugee crisis by toughening security measures instead of state-building processes.

North Africa

Libya: in need of a comprehensive strategy
A commentary from CEPS identifies the shortcomings of the EU approach to the Libyan crisis and how this should be addressed. It states that Libya needs a comprehensive strategy and not the gathering of responses to Member States’ individual concerns.

Libya and Niger: IOM warns about the extremely dangerous position of migrants
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) issued a warning about the extremely dangerous and inhuman conditions on the Central Mediterranean route. IOM reports that slave markets occur where migrants are bought and sold in order to extort their families for money, while they are being tortured. Some are forced to work for the traffickers.

Horn of Africa and Middle East

Djibouti: a small country hosting many refugees
Natalia Paszkiewicz for Middle East Eye describes how one of the poorest country in the world, with a population of less than one million inhabitants, is hosting an immense number of refugees coming from Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Yemen: an intensifying civil war forgotten by the international community
Irish Examiner reports that in Yemen, two million children are out of school, more than half of the country’s health facilities are not functioning and three million people are internally displaced. Meanwhile, the attention and efforts of the international community are very limited, says O’Doherty.

Middle East Eye announced 40 victims of clashes in Yemen within 24 hours and ten thousand in the last 2 years.

South Sudan:  Abduction of children and slaughtering civilians
The South Sudan News Agency reports on the abduction of large numbers of children in Ethiopia in operations by the South Sudanese Murle tribe.

A video from BBC with the testimonies of people currently fleeing South Sudan.

Sudan: Peace talks will resume in April
After the closure of last August, Khartoum is ready to launch another round of negotiations with the Darfuri rebels and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement of the North in late April.

Sudan: EU security aid is legitimizing Sudan’s “militia state”
The EU’s action plan empowering Sudanese security in order to tackle migration is having side effects on the Sudanese population. The plan providing training and equipment enabling migrant registration and identification is turning out to be another instrument of repression in the hands of the Sudanese government, according to reports. This report from enough explains and express the concerns on the dual-use of these equipment.

EUobserver article completes this picture by reporting some direct experiences.

Sudan: two filmmakers kidnapped in Darfur
Phil Cox and Daoud Hari – two filmmakers from Channel 4, while investigating the Sudanese government’s use of chemical weapons on Darfur’s civilian population, say they were abducted and tortured. This two-parts video shows video footage of their experience from their kidnapping in the desert until their detention in Khartoum.

The press attaché to the Sudanese Embassy in London Khalid Al Mubarak and Dame Rosalind Marsden, the former British Ambassador to Sudan, release their comments on this reportage and on the Sudanese situation.

Ethiopia extends State of emergency
GeeskaAfrika reports on the announcement by the Ethiopian government concerning the renewal of the state of emergency. This raises concerns about the escalation of violence in the future, as it further empowers the government.


The EEPA-Team