News Highlights: urgency resolution Eritrea, EU ‘reducing migration’, violence in South Sudan

In this week’s news highlights, the European Parliament is about to vote on an urgency resolution about Eritrea, mainly the cases of Patriarch Abune Antonios and journalist Dawit Isaak; the European Commission released new proposals for ‘reducing migration pressures’ in the Central Mediterranean Route; U.S. carried out a drone strike in Somalia aimed at Al-Shabaab; the African Union will send a delegation to Eritrea to discuss the dispute with Djibouti; Amnesty International warns of brutal atrocities in South Sudan; and UNHCR released a new report on mixed migration in Libya.


European Parliament: resolution on Eritrea
The European Parliament has issued a motion for a resolution on “Eritrea, notably the cases of Abune Antonios and Dawit Isaak”. A vote and a debate will take place during a plenary session of the European Parliament this Thursday, 6 July 2017. It is expected that the Parliament will strongly condemn the human rights situation in Eritrea, particularly the situation of the political and religious prisoners. The debate is scheduled between 09:00 – 11:50, towards the end of the programme and can be followed live here:

European Commission: Joint declaration with Italy, France and Germany
On the 2nd of July, the Interior ministers of Italy, France and Germany met to discuss migration, following the threats of Italy last week to close its ports to foreign boats carrying refugees and migrants. The resulting declaration poses several measures to “stem the migratory flow”, including reinforcing returns, supporting the Libyan coast guard and drafting a ‘code of conduct’ for NGOs operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

Following the statement, the European Commission released an action plan to support Italy, reduce pressure of migration and increase solidarity. The proposals will be discussed this Thursday.

Austria: threats to close the border with Italy
Meanwhile, solidarity seems distant as the Austrian Ambassador in Italy was summoned over threats to block migrants and refugees trying to pass into Austria. Soldiers could be deployed to perform border checks.

Greater Horn of Africa

Somalia: U.S. carries out drone strike
The United States carried out a drone strike against the militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia on Sunday. Details were not yet made public as the U.S.  is “assessing the results of the operation”.

Eritrea/Djibouti: AU to send delegation over growing tensions with Djibouti
The Washington Post reports that the African Union is sending a delegation to Eritrea after tensions broke out between Djibouti and Eritrea over withdrawal of Qatar’s peacekeeping troops. A delegation has already been sent to Djibouti.

Meanwhile, Eritrea’s ambassador to the African Union said that it is up to Qatar, the negotiator of the peace deal, to settle the dispute.

Eritrea: stopping young people from making dangerous journeys
The BBC explores the answer to the question: can jobs in Ethiopia keep Eritrean refugees out of Europe? As the EU moves to close its borders and the dangers of the journey to Europe become increasingly high, creating jobs and opportunities in countries like Ethiopia is of great importance.

South Sudan: Amnesty briefing warns of increased brutality
A new international briefing by Amnesty International warns escalation of violence against civilians, and the crisis has now displaced close to a million people. The briefing includes horror stories of people burned to death in their houses, hacked with machetes and brutally raped. Amnesty calls for the UN Peacekeepers to step up and for all parties to stop the atrocities.


UNHCR: report on mixed migration flows
A new report by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) shows the diversity of people arriving in Libya. Some are looking for jobs, others are victims of trafficking, political persecution or conflicts. The number of unaccompanied minors is rising, mainly coming from Eritrea, The Gambia and Nigeria. The UNHCR seeks to step up its efforts to protect refugees and migrants in Libya.