News Highlights: Israel cancels deportation plan, Human Trafficker ‘The General’ still free, Criticism on EU and UK cooperation with Sudan

In this week’s highlights: Israel states that the deportation plan is cancelled; Swedish documentary on human trafficker ‘the General’; criticism for EU and UK cooperation with Sudan; South Sudan seeing more attacks on health facilities; Meron Estefanos on the tragedy of refugees; documents no longer needed for Eritrean family reunification in Sweden; report on EU support for authoritarian states; EP backs regulations on asylum; and AU presents progress in European Parliament.


African migrants in Israel will not be deported, says Government
In response to the court, the Israeli government said on Tuesday that, at this stage, “the possibility of carrying out an unwilling deportation to a third country is not on the agenda” and that the migrants will be able to renew their residency permits as before (every 60 days). “I am very happy to see the deportation policy is canceled,” said an Eritrean refugee. “And now is the right time for the Israeli government to give a solution for the asylum seekers who came from Africa: a refugee status or to answer their asylum claim application.”

Greater Horn of Africa

Human Trafficking: Where is one of the most searched for human trafficker hiding?
Multiple witnesses have reported that the ‘General’, one of the most searched person involved in human trafficking who was claimed to be jailed in Sicily, is living freely in Uganda. It is now widely accepted that an innocent refugee with the same name has been arrested in his place. A Swedish documentary follows the trail and describes the search for him since the tragedy close to Lampedusa in 2013, where 368 migrants drowned in the sea (the programme is originally in Swedish, and can be seen here with English subtitles).

Sudan: EU and UK cooperating with Sudan on border management
With the numbers of incoming refugees to Europe rising, and the fast- growing anti-European sentiments of the EU Member States, the EU “is quietly getting its hands dirty, stanching the human flow, in part, by outsourcing border management to countries with dubious human rights records”, the New York Times write. One example of this is the cooperation with Sudan, where the EU and Sudan, along with the UK, are working together, even though the Sudanese government has been accused of committing war crimes. Human rights activists are deeply concerned, talking about the ethical issues raised by this.

Sudan: Sudanese Rapid Support Forces demand EU money to stop migrants
The Rapid Support Forces, a Sudanese militia group having allegedly committed war crimes and human rights abuses, said they want compensation by the EU for guarding the border with Libya and blocking the journey of migrants towards Europe. Rapid Support Forces commander Mohamed Hamdan said they do the job instead of the EU and “that’s why they should recognize our efforts and support us as we lost a lot of men, efforts and money – otherwise we will change our minds from carrying out this duty”.

South Sudan: Attacks in health facilities increase
The ongoing civil war has resulted in the killings of tens of thousands, displacements of millions and has led the country to famine. A new report of NGO Watchlist reads that the attacks of a number of medical facilities and personnel in South Sudan have increased. These attacks, along with the denial of humanitarian access, have constituted big challenges to children’s health already worsened by the long-standing conflict. However, as AP News reported, both government and opposition deny any involvement in these attacks.

Eritrea: Combined efforts needed to stand up for democracy
Human Rights Activist Meron Estefanos describes the tragedies of the Eritrean refugees be it in Eritrea, in Sudan, in Libya, in Egypt, in Israel or dying in the Mediterranean Sea trying to save themselves. She argues that in this current global humanitarian crisis, these harrowing events are considered as the new normality. “Let the African people stand up against their own dictatorial regimes. It is through our combined effort that change can be real in Africa” Estefanos advocates and wishes for a renewal of our commitments to fight for democracy and human rights.


Sweden: Eritreans no longer required to go to Eritrean authorities for family reunion
The migration court in Sweden ruled that family members of Eritreans residing in Sweden no longer have to obtain IDs or passports for family reunions. The ruling was issued after the court decided that the Eritrean authorities placed undue demands on the refugees, such as paying 2% tax and signing an ‘apology letter’.

EU: EU should not support African authoritarian states, report says
A report from the German Institute for Security and International Affairs (SWP) has described that the EU does not really understand the dynamics in the African region and supports authoritarian states as”priorities have shifted in favor of states that take migrants off Europe’s hands”.  David Kipp, SWP associate professor, said that wanting to see the numbers of migrants’ flows in Europe drop is shortsighted, and suggested that long-term partnership solutions are needed to really have beneficial outcomes for all.

EP: European Parliament backs regulation on asylum
This week, the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament backed a proposed new regulation on a common procedure for granting international protection in the EU. The procedure lays down the way national authorities are to manage asylum applications, ensuring that they are processed more consistently across the EU and that applicants are discouraged from making multiple applications in different member states.

EP: African Union talks at the European Parliament on their reforms
On 24 April 2018 the Development Committee (DEVE) of the European Parliament (EP) held a joint sitting with the Delegation to the ACP Group of States to discuss the reform of the African Union.Their progress for reforming the African Union was described as good, however the speakers focused on their funding gaps, and asked for the assistance of the EU as their “major partner”.