In this week’s news highlights, the policy direction of the European Union becomes increasingly clear as several EU countries promise to held Chad, Niger and Libya increase their border protection; processes to return asylum seekers to Greece have started despite doubts over conditions of reception; Africa Monitors warns of possible deportation of 28 Eritreans from Egypt; the International Organization on Migration and Reporters Without Borders remind us of the damage of disappearances; and a prominent human rights activist is pardoned and freed in Sudan, but others are still being held.
Statement by the International Organization on Migration on disappearance
A statement by the International Organization on Migration on the International Day of the Disappeared calls attention to the many people that go missing on their journeys. Some are never found and the IOM reminds us that for the families, not knowing means not being able to grieve.
Europe: Macron reveals migration plans after meetings with African and European counterparts
A mini-summit on stopping migration took place in Paris this week. Representatives of France, Germany, Italy and Spain agreed to help Chad, Niger and Libya stop migration through increased border protection. The French President Macron also spoke of processing asylum claims in these countries.
Europe: deals with other countries will not work
A Member of the European Parliament comments in The Guardian that the proposed deals with third countries to keep people out and process asylum claims locally will not work and that the money may end up instead with local militias. She worries that the policy direction of the EU will lead to millions of vulnerable people detained and urges the EU to invest in African countries instead.
Greece: EU countries have started process to return asylum seekers to Greece
In 2015, return of asylum seekers to Greece was suspended over the inhumane conditions in its reception facilities. However, the under pressure of the EU, the returns are now possible again, under the condition that Greece must ensure adequate reception. However, organisations such as Human Rights Watch still report deplorable conditions in the camps.
Greater Horn of Africa
Eritrea: 28 Eritreans at risk of deportation in Egypt
Africa Monitors call for support to save 28 Eritreans from deportation back to Eritrea from Egypt. Some have been held for six months, others since September 2016. The Eritreans were arrested before they had a chance to claim asylum.
Eritrea: RSF calls for journalist’s release on international day of the victims of enforced disappearance
An article by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called out countries in which journalists have become victims of enforced disappearance, such as Syria, China and Eritrea. In the case of Eritrea, they call for special attention to Dawit Isaak, the Swedish-Eritrean journalist who was arrested in the 2001 government crackdown.
Sudan: prominent human rights activist freed, but co-accused still held
Mudawi Ibrahim Adam was pardoned and released by President Omar al-Bashir. He was facing the death penalty for, among other things, spying and undermining the constitutional system. Reuters was told that he was in good health after his detention of eight months.
However, a report from AllAfrica states that Havez Idris El Doma, who was arrested together with Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, was not released. The pardon was to cover him and four more people who are currently detained as well. It is unclear whether they will be released.
South Sudan: Reports of troops using Ugandan territory
Reuters reports that eye witnesses and a Reuters-journalist state South Sudanese troops are passing through Ugandan territory, a move that could cause spreading of the violence. This is denied by the Ugandan military. In the past week, violence close to the Ugandan border caused the deaths of 19 people, including one US journalist.