News Highlights: UN official: no improvement in South Sudan; Amnesty International condemns EU; Eritrea accuses Sudan, Ethiopia, Qatar

In this week’s news highlights: New data protection regulation; UN official says things in South Sudan are getting worse; Eritrea accuses 3 countries of supporting opposition Jihadist groups; UN and human rights groups support Noura Hussein; EC calls for further work on immigration; Amnesty International criticize the EU’s support to Libya; Report describes IDPs in Africa; New Greek Bill for Asylum seekers; Eritreans plan rally in Switzerland for asylum rights; Eritreans’ demonstration in Egypt.

For your attention

New data protection regulation will be effective as of 25 May 2018
The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation will come into force as of 25 May 2018. The law grants more rights to people to determine how their data is used. For this mailing list, it means that we will be sending you an email asking you for explicit consent for your email address to be used on this list. If you would already like to update your profile now, scroll to the bottom of this email and click “update your preferences”. Please click both boxes at the bottom in order to continue to receive these updates.

Greater Horn of Africa

South Sudan: “The cessation of hostilities is a fiction”, UN Official says
Having recently visited South Sudan, Mark Lowcock, UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, described the suffering of ordinary people in the country, the reality that the peace process has not produced anything tangible, and how the war is still ongoing. “Belligerents use scorched-earth tactics, murder and rape as weapons of war. All these are gross violations of international law. Seven million people need humanitarian assistance in 2018. And things are simply getting worse”, Lowcock said.

Eritrea: Eritrea accuses Sudan, Ethiopia and Qatar
The Eritrean government has reiterated allegations that Sudan, Ethiopia and Qatar are providing support to opposition Jihadist groups to destabilize security in the country. “During the visit of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia to Khartoum two weeks ago, the two sides agreed to provide the necessary support to what they called “Eritrean resistance” by all means that enable them to carry out tasks entrusted to them through allowing them to move freely along the joint border,” said the Eritrean Information Ministry in a press release on Monday.

Sudan: UN and human rights groups urge Sudan to pardon Noura Hussein
The United Nations and various human rights groups have called on Sudan to pardon Noura Hussein, a 19 year old woman who has been sentenced to death for killing her husband who tried to rape her. UN Women, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN office of the special advisor on Africa on Sunday appealed to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s government for clemency for Hussein. The Guardian reported that “About one in three girls are married in Sudan before they are 18 and marital rape is not considered a crime in the predominantly Muslim African nation.”


EC announces progress but calls for new actions on migration
In a 16 May Communication the European Commission (EC) reported on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration and on the Commission’s political roadmap towards a comprehensive migration agreement. Even though the EC reported progress, they identified certain actions they deemed necessary including “plugging persistent gaps in assets for the European Border and Coast Guard; improving returns; boosting resettlement; and better protecting migrants along the routes.”

European governments accused of supporting Libya’s human rights abuses
Amnesty International has accused European governments of complicity in human rights abuses through their support for the Libyan authorities’ actions to stop people from crossing the Mediterranean Sea by taking them back to Libya where they face torture and extortion. “The EU is turning a blind eye to the suffering caused by its callous immigration policies that outsource border control to Libya,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

New report describes increase in IDPs in Africa
A report by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Unit (IDMU) states that the total number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the world has reached six million. It identifies the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as being top of the list with the most IDPs. South Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia and the Central African Republic (CAR) are also affected with the impact of drought being an added factor.

Greece: Human rights groups critical of New Greek bill to ease asylum procedures
On 15 May the Greek Parliament adopted a bill to simplify asylum procedures and to ease overcrowding in island refugee camps. In response “a dozen human rights groups criticized the bill” Reuters reported, as it “also foresees a shortened appeals procedure for rejected asylum seekers, saying it would lead to slapdash procedures violating refugees’ rights.”

Switzerland: Eritreans to protest in Bern, Switzerland, Friday 18 May
Advocating for the protection of the right of asylum in Switzerland, the Swiss Office for Migration (an association of private individuals and organizations from Swiss civil society) together with various members of the Eritrean community based in Switzerland have announced that they are going to demonstrate in Basel, Switzerland on Friday 18 May.


Eritreans march peacefully outside UNHCR office in Cairo
Around 1700 refugees demonstrated peacefully in front of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cairo to draw the attention of the latter to refugees’ rights and to the difficulties they face every day. Furthermore, as Africa Monitors reported, “they also complained about the continued slowdown in UNHCR’s procedures and the very poor UNHCR services provided to refugees, which have recently deteriorated at an unprecedented rate.”