News Highlights: EU migration deals with Sudan, Eritrea responds to dismissal official, Post-Cotonou discussion in EU

In this week’s news highlights: Eritreans and Ethiopians increasingly trapped in Sudan, while EU funds authorities; Africa Monitors reports on effects border closure; EU ambassadors react to Sudan arrests; Kenyan and Ugandan arms prolong South Sudanese civil war, says UN official; Eritrea responds to dismissal of official by Dutch government; Head of Eritrean church in US urges Israel to stop deportations; four stories of Eritrean refugees; EU discusses Post-Cotonou agreement and human rights in ACP countries; EU puts fighting smuggling over helping victims of trafficking; demonstration against deportations from Israel; and Libya testimonies.

Greater Horn of Africa

Sudan: Eritreans and Ethiopians trapped while EU funds authorities
published an extensive article based on interviews with refugees, local journalists and lawyers. Even though the EU has allocated millions to Sudan as a transit country to stem migration, people from Eritrea and Ethiopia are being captured and exploited there, with Sudanese authorities profiting, according to the interviews. According to interviewees, EU funding does not sufficiently take human rights into account and it is forcing refugees and migrants to take ever greater risks to escape dangerous situations.

Sudan: European Ambassadors react to excessive force and arbitrary detentions
Dozens of people protesting against austerity measures were arrested by the Sudanese security forces, states Human Rights Watch.European embassies in Sudan condemned the violent treatment of peaceful civilians. Concern has also been raised over the fact that security agents confiscate newspapers critical towards the authorities.

Sudan and Eritrea: the effects of border closure
Africa Monitors
report on the effects of the closing of the Eritrean-Sudanese border by Sudan and the mobilization of troops. Surveillance on Eritreans in Sudan is tight and scarcity of goods is observed in Eritrea.

South Sudan: Kenya and Uganda prolong South Sudanese conflict, UN official states
A senior UN Official accused the two countries of contributing to the persistence of the South Sudanese civil war by transferring arms and ammunition. Joint regional and international efforts are needed to put an end to the conflict and start the negotiationsfor peace procedures to begin, said the UN special advisor for prevention of genocide.

Eritrea: Harsh reactions against last week’s dismissal of Eritrean ambassador in The Hague
Two weeks ago, the Head of the Eritrean Embassy in The Hague was declared ‘persona non grata’ by the Dutch government and his immediate departure was demanded. The Eritrean government pushed back, with a formal announcement saying that the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs “is naturally considering appropriate reciprocal measures that it will have to take to partially redress the wrong.”

Eritrea: Head of Eritrean Church in the US urges Israel to give shelter to Eritreans
Abune Makarios has asked the British government to persuade Israeliauthoritiesnot to deport incoming African refugees, many of those being Eritreans. Noting the perilous situations they face when deported, Makarios asked Israel to give them shelter.

Eritrea: Contemporary Tragedies – Eritreans speak out
Four Eritreans have narrated their distressing experiences to the Eritrean-Swedish radio activist Meron Estefanos. The article describes in detail their experiences and sheds light on the deadlocksEritreans face in the contemporary era.


Europe: EU’s focus on tackling smuggling means trafficking victims are forgotten on the EU is focused too much on ways to tackle smuggling rather than human trafficking, states the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in a report. Many smuggled migrants are penalized for immigration offences while trafficking victims are disregarded.  “The presence of unidentified and unprotected victims of human trafficking allows criminal activities to flourish…and so potentially turning a humanitarian emergency into a security crisis,” the OSCE stressed.

European Union: EU institutions discussing Post-Cotonou agreement and human rights in ACP countries
Last week, meetings took place in the European Parliament with the Commission in attendance, discussing the Cotonou Agreement that governs the relations between the European Union (EU) and the ACP countries, and which expires in 2020. In the coming two years, a new text will be negotiated including changes and new additions to make it more applicable to the current ever-changing state of play. European Parliament members emphasised the importance of human rights.

Netherlands: demonstration against Rwanda’s participation in deportations from Israel
On Saturday 3 February, a demonstration will take place at the Rwandan embassy in The Hague against Rwanda’s role in the mistreatment and deportation from Eritrean and Sudanese refugees from Israel. Similar demonstrations will take place at other Rwandan embassies worldwide.

North Africa

Libya: Testimonies of two Eritreans stuck in Libya Through a smuggled phone, two Eritreans stuck in Libya talk about their situation. Trapped in a war zone, with neither money nor food, they describe the excessive force they experienced, physically and mentally. According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of migrants in Libya has reached 700,000-1 million.