News Highlights: Janjaweed leader arrested, threats to UN officials from Burundi and Eritrea, possible sanctions in Libya

In this week’s news highlights: UN expresses worries over threats to UN officials from Eritrean and Burundi officials; Nevsun shareholders urged to divest; Janjaweed militia  leader arrested in Sudan; Italy promotes Libya coast guard cooperation in European Parliament; EU-AU summit starts; UN Security Council considering targeted sanctions in Libya; and IOM wants 30 detention centres in Libya closed.


Greater Horn of Africa

Eritrea: UN High Commissioner on Human Rights expresses concern over threats
During his intervention in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights stated that the threats to UN experts on human rights by officials of Burundi and Eritrea are unacceptable. For Eritrea, this mainly concerns Special Rapporteur Sheila B. Keetharuth. “The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Ms Sheila Keetharuth, has also faced considerable hostility in conducting her work, including a personal attack by the Eritrean Ambassador  [..] (who) referred to her as a ‘naked Empress with no clothes’ and accused her of acting like a “Viceroy over Eritrea,” and carrying out a witch-hunt”.

Eritrea: campaign urges Nevsun’s shareholders to ‘divest from slavery’
A campaign by FreedomUnited has organised a petition to urge stakeholders of the Canadian mining company Nevsun to divest. The petition has gathered over 60.000 signatures. Last week, the Canadian court decided that the court case against the mining company for forced labour and abuse at the Bisha mine in Eritrea can go forward.

Sudan: Janjaweed militia leader arrested
The Sudanese defence minister confirmed that after a military operation, the Janjaweed militia leader Musa Hilal has been arrested by the Sudanese army. Musa Hilal is under UN sanctions as he is suspected of involvement in the Darfur conflict. The war ended with an estimated 300.000 people killed and the Janjaweed militia is accused of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Darfur’s black African population during the conflict.


European Parliament: EU and Italy to promote new project with Libyan coast guard
On Tuesday 28th November, Mario Morcone from the Italian interior ministry explained to the European Parliament committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs the new plan to implement cooperation with Libya. The plan backed by Italy and the other EU states is to organise “the creation of operational centres in Libya to help search and rescue operations at sea” and to better coordinate fleets between the Libyan and Italian coastguard”. The total value of the project is estimated around 285 mln euro. The human rights situation in Libya, including the recent videos of slave markets, was not addressed in detail.

Europe: Europe and Africa, what to expect from the Abidjan summit
The European Union – African Union summit has just started, but what are the results the two continents are aiming for? Topics that are high on the agenda include migration and fighting terrorism, but also investing in youth; underlying topics range from the legacy of colonialism, to the growing interest and influence of China on Africa. An article published on sums up and analyses all the thematics which need urgent resolution, following the opinions and the statements released by policymakers.

Europe: Merkel heads to the Africa summit with clear intentions on migrant issues
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement during a public event on Saturday that she would press for a renewed political and economical partnership in order to address migration crisis. Merkel notes the key points of this partnership are education, investment in youth and economic development. Focus must also be given, so says Merkel, to migration return regulations in cooperation with other EU and African countries, preventing those ‘who have no right to stay in Europe’ from staying in Europe.

North Africa

Libya: UN considering a plan of sanctions against Libyan entities in order to fight human trade
After the shocking videosof slavery auctions taking place in Libya, the UN Security council held an emergency meeting to discuss a possible plan of sanctions against people and entities involved in human trafficking in the African country. The French ambassador to the UN stated: “France will propose to assist the sanctions committee [..] in identifying responsible individuals and entities for trafficking through Libyan territory”. The Libyan ambassador, however, stated that the slave market reports were a smear campaign against the country, saying “Libya is the victim of a large-scale false media campaign of defamation to portray it as a racist country”.

Libya: UN asks for the immediate closure of 30 detention camps in Libya
During the security council meeting called by the French ambassador to the UN, the request for closing 30 detention camps has been presented, with a potential result of 15,000 migrants sent back to their countries. International Organisation on Migration DG William Lacy Swing affirmed: “We need from the Libyans the agreement that we can empty these centres and I think they will agree to that”.