News Highlights: Ethiopia frees 2 Eritrean journalists, pregnant refugee healthcare, Greece under pressure

In this week’s news highlights: Greece is under pressure due to a new peak in arrival of migrants and refugees; Italian court case against suspected human trafficker continues, despite allegations that the wrong person was arrested; EU doctors state present report, stating that pregnant refugees must have access to better health care; Two Eritrean journalists freed in Ethiopia; Al-Shabab militia strike outside Mogadishu; Somalia to host large Turkish military base; and human rights groups are concerned lifting of US sanctions against Sudan might cause human rights issues.


Greece: Migrant camps under severe strain under new migration peak
During this summer Greece has been experiencing its highest peak in migrant reception since March 2016, with the numbers more than doubling. A local NGO speculated that it might be the worsening relations between the EU and Turkey, elections in Germany or simply a last push before the coming of winter  . The new situation puts Greece under severe pressure, with NGOs experts stating ‘it is dramatic and it is the most vulnerable of the vulnerable coming in’.

Italy: New court hearing of person who claims he is mistaken for human trafficker
In 2016, Italy claimed to have arrested notorious human trafficker Medhanie Yehdego Mered. However, doubts quickly rose over whether the right person was arrested. The accused said in a new stage of the process in Palermo that he is Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, a refugee, and that he is not involved in trafficking.  So far no evidence was found that confirms Italian accusations against this Medhanie and many have risen to support his claims of innocence.

Europe: European doctors warn that healthcare for pregnant refugees must improve           A report by the organisation Doctors of the World calls for better healthcare for migrants, especially for pregnant women. The organisation’s research in Greece showed that for 72% of pregant women or women with children, healthcare was inadequate or non-existent. The report draws the attention of policymakers to the traumatic situations that woman go through and how a better healthcare policy may be more cost effective as well as preventing harm.

Italy: Italy to approve new financial aid for migrants
A new initiative, which was named ‘symbolically significant’, was launched in Italy by Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano. The principal aim of the project is to finance young entrepreneurs among migrants in order to build new opportunities in their countries of origin.

Greater Horn of Africa

Ethiopia: two Eritrean journalists freed after 10 years in jail
Several sources report that two Eritrean journalists who were arrested in Ethiopia 2006 were freed. Tesfaldet Kidane and Salih Gama were never formally charged, although they may have been part of a group of terrorism suspects.

Somalia: Al-Shabab car bombers attack military soldiers outside Mogadishu
Eight soldiers were killed in the latest deadly attack carried out by Al-Shabab militia against a military base just outside Mogadishu. This attack is the latest in a series of intensified attacks which were claimed by the terrorist group, aimed to weaken the Somali army presence in the territory.

Somalia: biggest foreign Turkish military base opens on Somali soil
Somalia and Turkey military partnership led to the opening of the biggest Turkish military base outside of Turkey, in Mogadishu. The venue will be used by the Turkish army in order to provide special training to Somali soldiers. The project is part of a bigger operation which is aimed at fighting terrorism.

Sudan: Sudanese minister says all conditions for US sanction lifting have been met
The deadline of 12 October for the US decision on lifting Sudan sanctions is approaching. Sudan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs states that all conditions have been met and that they expect sanctions to be lifted; however human rights groups warn that lifting of the sanctions could lead to an increase in human rights violations.