News Highlights: Refugees Sudan report coercion by UNHCR, Report on trauma and trust on minor refugees, Foreign interference in Somalia

In this week’s news highlights: New report on trauma in relation to trust of Eritrean unaccompanied minors; Refugees report systematic coercion to pay for services of UNHCR in Sudan; External actors should not interfere with Somali internal affairs, AU and EU urge; UN warns of grave international humanitarian law violations in Sudan; IOM returnsEthiopians trapped in Yemen; Cyclone in Somaliland causes severe damage, UN focuses on long-term resilience building; Report discusses reasons why Eritrea does not implement ACHPR; Start of Post-Cotonou talks possibly delayed; EU’s new assistance package for migration; UNHCR deeply concerned with developments in Hungary; MEPs’ sharp answers to findings of Frontex Consultative Forum; New European Parliament Resolution on Sudan; Libyan rival leaders agree to election plan.


New report on Trauma in relation to Eritrean unaccompanied minors
Tilburg University and EEPA have published a report for the Dutch unaccompanied refugee minor organization Nidos Foundation investigating the situation of unaccompanied Eritrean minors in The Netherlands. The research focuses on the high incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress in relation to the lack of trust between Unaccompanied Minors of Eritrea and their caregivers. The purpose of this report has been to present findings and conclusions as well as to give a set of practical recommendations.

Greater Horn of Africa

Sudan: Report shows culture of bribing for refugee resettlement
Refugees in Khartoum interviewed by IRIN say that people claiming to be affiliated with UNHCR in Sudan systematically asked for bribes to advance resettlements. Others said their documents for resettlement applications “had mysteriously disappeared, their case numbers had changed without explanation, or people they knew who lacked refugee status were nonetheless allowed to leave the country after paying money to UNHCR staff”. Many now prefer smugglers to avoid the UNHCR in Sudan due to this perceived corrupted and unfair system. UNHCR has mounted an investigation.

Somalia: AU and EU concerned with foreign interference in Somali internal affairs
The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed concern over “increasing instances” of interference by “non-African actors” in Somalia’s internal affairs and said such actions threaten peace-building efforts in Somalia, according to a statement from the AU. Similar concerns were raised by EU envoys in East Africa on Saturday, who voiced concern over the repercussions of the Gulf crisis on Somalia.

Sudan: UNAMID deeply concerned about the attacks in Darfur
Following several attacks by rebel militia at camps hosting displaced Sudanese in Darfur, UNAMID (the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission) has urged all the parties to respect designated humanitarian spaces and warned that attacks on them may constitute grave violation of international humanitarian law. They further added that “UNAMID continues to monitor events and take appropriate measures, in line with its protection of civilians mandate from the United Nations Security Council”.

Ethiopia: IOM helps Ethiopians return home from Yemen, ask for international support
On May 29, IOM reported that they helped some 101 Ethiopian migrants leave Yemen as incidents of clashes grew. The migrants are currently travelling via the Gulf of Aden to Djibouti, as a transit through on their way home to Ethiopia. “Thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen and are in desperate need of assistance and protection, as well as the international community’s general attention and support,” said Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergency.

Somaliland: After severe cyclone, UN urges to focus on building long-term resilience
Following the recent landfall of Cyclone Sagar on the northern Horn of Africa which affected some 160,000 people, killing dozens and causing severe damage to infrastructure and economic hardship, UN released close to $3 million to help people affected. UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Peter de Clercqsaid, said that the combination of events (storm, floods and drought) has emphasized the need for a response that addresses both short- and long-term humanitarian, the longer-term being centred on building the resilience of communities like that of the Awhal region.

Eritrea: Reasons why ACHPR is not implemented in the country
A new report seeks to understand why Eritrea as a signatory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights does not implement it. The country’s recent report to the African Commission reassuring that there is respect of human rights, rule of law and independent judiciary has been “little more than “window dressing”. “The Eritrean authorities’ non-compliance and non-implementation is a reflection of the disrespect they demonstrate for the Charter and the African Commission”, Human Rights Concern Eritrea observe.


Start of talks for Post-Cotonou Agreement delay due to migration
Originally scheduled to begin on June 1st, the start of discussions for the EU-ACP future partnership could be postponed due to lack of consensus on migration. No negotiating mandate was put forward, following two meetings last week on the future Cotonou Agreement. “The migrant crisis has exacerbated differences on the position of migration in the framework of the future partnership agreement, particularly on the chapter regarding readmission of illegal migrants who are nationals of ACP states”, Euractiv reports.

EU announces new assistance package to manage migration
To complement the work of African Union-European Union- United Nations Joint Taskforce, the EU announced its new assistance package worth a total of €467 million under the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to ‘improve migration management’ as well as employment opportunities for young people in the Sahel/Lake Chad region and the Horn of Africa. EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “it is the first time ever that a work like this has been put in place. This has been possible over the last months thanks to a partnership that has never existed like this before, between the European Union, the United Nations and the African Union”. 

Hungary: UNHCR highly concerned with proposed Hungarian laws
This week, the Hungarian Government introduced a package of laws set to restrict the freedom of individuals and NGOs to support asylum seekers and refugees. UNHCR, highly concerned that these proposals would deprive people of their freedoms and further inflame xenophobic attitudes, appealed to Hungary “to remain committed to protecting refugees and asylum-seekers, including by facilitating the essential role and efforts of qualified civil society organizations”.

Report on Frontex activities generates sharp responses from MEPs
Recently, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament (EP) hosted the Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights to discuss their Fifth Annual Report where the consultative forum outlined their activities, observations and recommendations to Frontex and its Management Board on the Agency’s fundamental rights responsibilities. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) comments were sharp.

European Parliament May Plenary: Human Rights in Sudan
Today, Thursday 31 May, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) discussed about human rights breaches in Sudan. After a woman was sentenced to death for killing her husband while trying to prevent him from raping her again, MEPs passed a resolution calling on Sudanese authorities to prosecute all cases of gender-based and sexual violence, including marital rape, domestic violence and early and forced marriages. Furthermore, the MEPs called for investigation of the allegations against the Sudanese security forces for the use of violence, intimidation and other forms of abuse against women.


The rival leaders of Libya, a departure point for thousands of refugees to Europe, agree to election plan
In a summit in France on Tuesday the 30th of May, the rival factions of Libya, a country with an estimate of 43,113 refugees according to the UN from which 90 percent cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections. The summit was hosted by the French president Emmanuel macron, who called the summit ‘historic’. However, others raised critical questions about the breakthrough of the conference.