News Highlights: EU continues closing its borders, Italy refuses DNA evidence in Medhanie-case, Brussels conference report

In this week’s News Highlights: European Council president promises help to ‘close Central Mediterranean Route’; Italian prosecutor rejects vital DNA evidence in human trafficking case, Brussels Conference ‘Eritrea and the Ongoing Refugee Crisis’ report; French police likely used excessive force in Calais; Save the Children warn of detrimental effect of EU policies on mentral health of migrant and refugee children; US Ambassador visits Horn of Africa countries; Terrorism continues in Somalia;


European Union: EU offers more help to Italy to close the Central Mediterranean route
After the Brussels EU summit which took place last week, European Council president Donald Tusk agreed to give more funding through the migration fund to North Africain order to help Italy in stopping migration from Libya. Donald Tusk stated: ‘We have a real chance of closing the Central Mediterranean route’. A group of organisations meeting on the topic of Eritrea, including EEPA, made a statement condemning the message by Mr. Tusk.

Italy: Italian authorities reject DNA test as valid evidence in case against alledged trafficker
In a new twist in the Italian court case regarding an alledged human trafficker, DNA evidence is not accepted by the prosecutor. The man, saying that he is Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe, was arrested on suspicion of being the notorious human trafficker Medhanie Yehdego Mered. The family of the accused asked for DNA verification to prove that he is not the suspect, for which his mother travelled from Eritrea to Sicily. However, the prosecutor in the case has refused to admit the DNA test as evidence in the case, as they are basing their case “on other data”. According to the Guardian article, no solid evidence against the accused has been given.

Brussels: Conference ‘Eritrea and the Ongoing Refugee Crisis’ draws large crowd
A mixed crowd of policy makers, experts, lawyers and other interested people came together last Thursday, 19th of October, in Brussels for the conference ‘Eritrea and the Ongoing Refugees Crisis’. The conference discussed in-depth the situation of human rights in Eritrea and the situation of refugees in Africa and the EU. IDN-InDepthNews published a report.

European Union: Eritrean organisation concerned about EU deals to cut migration
An article published on the Human Rights Concern Eritrea (HRCE) website accuses the EU of sacrificing human rights to stop migration from Libya by making deals with unstable or dictatorial governments. Taking into account all the major events which affected EU migration policy over the past months, the article tells of the dangers that face refugees and migrants through the attempts to stop migration.

France: Accusations of excessive force ‘likely’ true, but most serious allegations dismissed
In July, a report was produced by the NGO Human Rights Watch, stating that during the demolition of the migrant camp in Calais in October 2016, French police used ‘excessive force’.  This was followed by an official inquiry by the French Ministry of Interior confirms that the police likely used excessive force, but call the more serious allegations of the NGO report “highly unlikely”, including the routine use of pepperspray.

European Union: Save the Children warns about the effect on the EU’s policies onmental health of minors
An article published on the Save the Children website warns about the impact on mental health that the policies of the EU and its member states are having, particularly on minors. The situation in hotspots, return procedures and medical age assessments are some of the examples highlighted that cause anxiety, depression and other mental health issues for children. The organisation calls upon the EU to put the children at the centre of its policies.   

Greater Horn of Africa

Ethiopia: US Ambassador visits Ethiopian Prime Minister
The US Ambassador to the United Nation, Nikki Haley, started her ‘Horn of Africa tour’ by meeting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. At the centre of the meeting was the role that Ethiopia plays in the fight against terrorism and the concerning signals over human rights that are coming from the country.

South Sudan: USA Ambassador sent to the President demanding for peace
After visiting Gambella, a South Sudanese refugee camp in Ethiopia, the American ambassador to the United Nations had a meeting with South Sudan president Salva Kiir in order to discuss the civil war conflict. After the meeting Haley stated: “His words don’t match his actions… He understood that the United States was very disappointed in his leadership”.

Somalia: Deadly blast continue in Mogadishu
Only one week after the deadliest terrorist attack which killed over 350 people in the heart of Somalia’s capital city, another car bomb struck. According to Al-Jazeera, 11 people lost their lives in a roadside explosion some 36 km away from Mogadishu. The country has been devastated by terrorist attacks, of which there have been over 20 this year, according to the news agency.