News Highlights: new EU resettlement plan, torture in Libya, Sudan travel ban dropped

In this week’s news highlights: European Commission presented a migration plan which includes resettlement for at least 50,000 refugees from North Africa and the Horn of Africa; focus on reducing migration could destabilise countries and endanger human rights, says Saferworld; Eritrea refers to border situation in statement at UN General Assembly; Ethiopian ethnic clashes between Oromo and Somali investigated; UN refugee agency published a video on extortion and torture in Libya; German-based migrants charity states that it was fired at by Libyan coast guard.


European Commission: new plan for resettlement of 50.000 refugees from Horn of Africa
The European Commission announced a plan to resettle 50.000 refugees from North Africa and the Horn of Africa over a period of two years. The Commission says that it wants to provide “safe and legal pathways” for refugees in order to provide an alternative to crossing the dangerous deserts, borders and Mediterranean Sea. Other aspects of the Commission’s plan include more effective return policies and enhancing solidarity among EU member states; the relocation scheme meant to relocate 120.000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece has only relocated 29.000 people in a two-year period.

European Union: “charting the wrong course” on migration
Kloé Tricot o’Farrell, working for Saferworld, states that the EU is taking the wrong approach to stopping migration. She criticizes the EU’s measuring of success, which looks at the achieved reduction in flows across the Mediterranean Sea, rather than human rights. The EU’s focus on border control may have a destabilizing effect by empowering militias and traps people in dangerous situations, says o’Farrell.

Greater Horn of Africa

Eritrea: Eritrean Government calls on UN Security Council to stop Ethiopian occupation of land
Eritrea’s Foreign Affairs chief, Osman Saleh Mohammed, called attention to the border situation with Ethiopia during Eritrea’s address to the UN General Assembly. Mohammed accused Ethiopia of being a threat to regional security by occupying Eritrean territory. The relation between Eritrea and Ethiopia is tense, as the boundary agreement made in 2002 was never implemented on the ground. 

Ethiopia: Ethiopian Government released statement over country’s ethnic clashes
Ethiopian Government spokesman Negeri Lencho stated that hundreds of Oromo peopled perished in the conflict between the Oromo and Somali ethnicities in Ethiopia. According to the same statement, the fighting has since stopped. A national task force has been created to address the needs of those replaced and the government will launch an investigation, Lencho stated.

Sudan: The White House drops Sudan from ‘Travel Ban’ list
Donald Trump recently added three more countries to the ‘Travel Ban’ list, but surprisingly Sudan was removed. Ryan Grim, journalist from ‘The Intercept’, tweeted ‘Sudan getting dropped from the travel ban comes as the UAE has been lobbying hard for them in DC in exchange for mercenary support in Yemen’.

North Africa

Libya: German-based charity ‘stopped’ with shots by Libyan coast guard
Alex Steier, the spokesman of a German-based charity, stated that they were shot at by the Libyan coast guard while rescuing seventy migrants from the Mediterranean sea. After the shots – which did not wound anyone – were fired, two Libyan officers bordered the German ship asking for the hand-over of the migrants.

Libya: video on abuse, extortion and torture in Libya
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) posted a short video that highlights the violence that people in Libya endure before making the crossing to Europe. People rescued on the Mediterranean Sea describe how they were starved and tortured, made to pay ransom for their freedom.