News Highlights: Ethiopia’s PM resigns, arrests Sudan continue, Hungary moves against NGOs

In this week’s news highlights: Ethiopian PM resigns; arrests of opposition leaders in Sudan continue; fatal accident in Libya kills at least 19 smuggled Eritreans, Somalis and Ethiopians; background to Israel’s plans to deport thousands of Eritreans and Sudanese;Rwanda continues to deny any agreement with Israel for the deportation of asylum seekers; Hungary submits measures against NGOs assisting migrants to the parliament; UK to create and circulate anti-immigration campaign; politics is the barrier of solving migration issue, not migration itself, IOM chief says; European Commission’s resettlement measures waiting for response from member states.

Greater Horn of Africa

Ethiopia: Amid deadly anti-government protests, Ethiopian Prime Minister resigns
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn resigned this afternoon after protest, announcing that his act was vital in order to make reforms that will lead to sustainable peace and democracy. Ethiopian people have been protesting since 2015 asking for political and economic reform. Correspondents stress that a weak and turbulent Ethiopia is risky for the peace in the entire Horn of Africa.

Sudan:New arrests of opposition leaders in Sudan- the EU expresses concern
On Tuesday 13 February, the Sudanese authorities arrested opposition leaders after they called for protests in Khartoum. “The will of our people and their desire for freedom and change cannot be broken,” the opposition coalition said in a statement. EU diplomats in Khartoum and EU Parliament called on the government to release them or organise fair trials.


Libya: Accident with 180 smuggled migrants; 19 killed, 138 injured
Yesterday, 14 February, a truck accident occurred on the south-east of Bani Waleed in Libya. 180 smuggles migrants were in the truck, the majority were Eritreans, the rest Somali and Ethiopian. At least 19 people were killed and 138 injured, reports say, of which at least 4 were children. The International Organisation on Migration (IOM) and the Médecins Sans Frontières provided aid. According to the IOM, the migrants involved in the accident were being taken toan unknown location by the smugglers.


Israel: Massive deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers are coming
The Israeli government wants to deal with the ‘illegal infiltrators’ that they argue arelargely responsible for poverty and crime in Tel Aviv. The options given to the refugees are either prison or $3,500 to leave the country. This EEPA article describes the current state of play in Israel, giving background information to shed light on how things have escalated.

Rwanda: Rwanda continues to deny any deal with Israel for accepting asylum seekers
In a rally against the deportations of Eritreans and Sudanese that happened in London, the Rwandan High Commission shared a letter stating again that there has been no deal for the resettlement of the asylum seekers currently in Israel. The wording of the document highlights the positive environment of the Rwandan government towards the people in need.

Hungary: Limitations for Hungarian NGOs supporting migrantssubmitted to the Parliament
The Hungarian government submitted the ‘Stop Soros’ package to the parliament. This would grant the interior minister powers to ban civil groups and organizations supporting migrants by doing advocacy, recruiting volunteers and distributing information material. The minister could also deny their permission for approval in case of a perceived a “national security risk.” Moreover, the bill would also impose a 25 percent tax on foreign donations to NGOs that work on migration in Hungary. If organizations fail to comply, Hungarian prosecutors could dissolve them.

United Kingdom: Following Germany and Denmark, the UK is campaigning to discourage migrants from coming to Europe
The British Home Office will launch a new campaign and distribute it online as an attempt to reduce migration, aimed at migrants. However, experts say that these ‘awareness campaigns’ are rather used to show to the citizens the governments’ active handling of the issue, while they do not influence migrants; these decide based on what they hear from their familiar environment, not from foreign governments, experts say.

EU:It is politics that form the obstacle, not migration, says IOM chief
In an extensive interview, the IOM chief stated that the reason why the issue of migration is not solved is because of disunity among the EU Member States, highlighting that the problem is not migration but politics.  He described that the problem is on the one hand the absence of a comprehensive EU plan and on the other hand the citizens’ lost faith in the leadership. A comprehensive long-term multifaceted policy on migration and asylum is the solution, he argued.

EU: Reactions of the EU Member States to a new proposed migration initiative of the European Commission are awaited
A new initiative proposed in the recent  State of the Union by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is to be initiated soon. The ‘European Labour Authority’ is a new instrument that is not specifically about migrant labour, however its goals relate to improving the resettlement of migrants and helping them to find jobs. An opinion piece by Giles Merritt from Friends of Europe states that the reactions of the EU member states to this could either create new difficulties or, if handled deftly, it could create a new framework to handle the migration issue.