News Highlights: Eritrea-Djibouti tensions, global displacement, counter-terrorism in Sahel

In this week’s news highlights, the UN Refugee Agency published its annual report on global displacement, showing a continuing upward trend in the numbers of displacement; the tensions over migration between European Union member states continue; counter-terrorism force in Sahel region approved by UN Security Council; tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea rise, and fears grow that tensions between Arab allies may cause conflict in the Horn of Africa; and International organisations have not learned their lessons from previous engagements with the Eritrean regime.



UNHCR: displacement in 2016

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) published its annual review of the global displacement trends for the year 2016. Worldwide, 65.6 million people had been displaced by the end of 2016, which is an increase of 300.000 from 2015 – the previous record year.


European Union: who gets paid to stop refugees?

Die Tagezeitung has published a website showing who the EU pays to stop migration. It criticizes the EU’s strategy, which relies on dictators and has thrown the usual conditions of EU aid, such as good governance, overboard.

European Union: Tensions over migration and relocation continue

EUobserver reports on the continued tensions in Europe over questions of migration. Austria and Hungary want to focus on security, whereas Germany wants to focus on relocation of refugees. Meanwhile, the EU claims success in its controversial efforts to reduce migration from Africa.

Mediterranean: around 120 feared dead after motor stolen from dinghy

Smugglers stole the motor from a dinghy, leaving the people on board stranded. The boat was engulfed and sank, and it is reported that only four people survived. A spokesman of the International Organization on Migration (IOM) stated that an increase of valuable motors that were stolen was seen in the last six months.

North Africa

Sahel Region: UN Security Council approves counter-terrorism force

The New York Times reports on the UN Security Council approval of a counter-terrorism force of 5.000 troops to be deployed in the Sahel region. The force will combat terrorism and smuggle of drugs and people. Particularly French and United States diplomats have yet to agree on who will finance the mission.

Horn of Africa

Horn of Africa: Eritrea-Djibouti border tensions

Tensions rise between Eritrea and Djibouti and the African Union, backed by the United Nations, has decided to send a fact-finding mission. The tension is caused by Qatar, which has withdrawn its small peacekeeping force after Eritrea reluctantly backed Saudi Arabia instead of Qatar – its long-term partner – in the recent disputes. BBC explains.

Horn of Africa: sparks from Arabia might light up Horn of Africa

The Conversation published an article explaining how the conflicts between Arab allies, particularly with Qatar, may cause conflict in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea houses many of the military bases of the countries involved and border tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea add fuel to the fire, according to the article.

Eritrea: lessons from previous engagement with the Eritrean regime

Martin Plaut lists previous attempts to engage the Eritrean regime, like the United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) obstructed attempts at peacekeeping and previous EU attempts to engage. Plaut states that it appears international organisations have learned little from these past lessons.

South Sudan: report states famine is over, but overall the news is bad

A report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) stated that the famine in South Sudan, which was declared in February 2017, is over. However, the report quickly cautions that although an increase in aid means that the classification of famine no longer applies, even more people are now on the brink of famine than before.