News Highlights: Ethiopia makes first step towards peace with Eritrea, Algeria as a new gateway of migrants, Suggestions for a new EU-Africa relation

In this week’s news highlights: How will Eritrea respond in Ethiopia’s call for peace?; Estefanos urges EU for sanctions to Eritrea; On their way to Yemen, Ethiopians drown or go missing; The South Sudanese prolonged hunger; Freed victims of human trafficking in Libya; Algeria becomes the alternative route to Europe for refugees and migrants; How the EU-Africa relationship should be renewed; After allegations, Head of EASO resigns; Documentary investigates EU migration policy and its effects.

Greater Horn of Africa

Ethiopia and Eritrea: Ready for a new start in the relationship with Eritrea
On Tuesday, the Ethiopian governing party announced that they accepted the peace deal that ended its border war with Eritrea and they announced that they will “fully accept and implement” the agreement with Eritrea that was signed in 2000, but never implemented. Encouraging the Eritrean government to do the same, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) wrote on Facebook that Eritrea “should take the same stand without any prerequisite and accept our call to bring back the long-lost peace of the two brother nations as it was before”. So far the Eritrean government has offered no official response to this announcement. The Freedom Friday (Arbi Harnet) civil society movement in Eritrea encouraged Eritreans to grab the opportunity to create a peace movement.

Eritrea: Activist urges EU to implement sanctions against Eritrea
Eritrean activist living in Sweden Meron Estefanos runs a radio phone-in-show to reach Eritrean migrants crossing the Mediterranean and victims of kidnapping held for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere. However, she reports that she is accused by the Eritrean government of working as a trafficker. The activist says that ‘it is essential that European countries implement sanctions against Eritrea in order to stop the legitimacy of the mafia regime, hiding the root cause that’s making people flee’. Estefanos suggests that the EU countries impose sanctions against Eritrea so that the mafia regime that makes people flee ceases to exist

Ethiopia: On the way to Yemen, Ethiopian migrants drown or go missing
At least 46 Ethiopian migrants crossing Somalia to Yemen are reported to have drowned and 16 are missing after the boat that was transporting them overturned. According to a BBC reportage, survivors reported that there were at least 100 people on the smuggler’s boat trying to reach Yemen and other Gulf countries to find work. “Over 7,000 poor migrants take this perilous journey every month; some 100,000 took it just last year,” said IOM official Mohammed Abdiker.

South Sudan: The Times report prolonged hunger
Due to the long ongoing war in the country, the economy has been obliterated: countless of farms have been abandoned destroying production, while food prices remain high. The hunger season came early this year for South Sudan, as, since February, known as a rich season for production, people have run out of food. The Times document the extent of hunger as food has grown scarce. “This year is expected to be the worst yet, as millions potentially face acute malnutrition”, the article reads.

Libya & Algeria

Libya: 74 Detained and Tortured Migrants from Sudan, Eritrea and Chad freed
On Monday 4 June, Sudan’s Consul General in Libya Jamal Awad inspected the conditions of the Sudanese ‘illegal’ migrants detained by the Libyan Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency (AIIA) in Tripoli. The Agency said that the aim of this visit was to check on the detainees’ conditions and to complete required procedures for repatriations to Sudan. Meanwhile, the head of the AIIA Ramzi Ramadan Al-Hasi reported that 74 migrants detained by criminal gangs and human traffickers were freed. The victims, he said, are from Sudan, Eritrea and Chad, they have been tortured by the human traffickers and they have not eaten for several days.

Algeria: A new gateway for migrants and asylum seekers?
As it has become tougher for migrants and asylum seekers to reach Europe by passing through Libya, Algeria is becoming more prominent as a transit country. However, an IOM survey has suggested that the country seems to rival Libya in terms of danger as a number of Africans have reported that they were trapped, enslaved and sold for labor. According to Reuters, “Algerian authorities could not be reached for comment and several experts cast doubt on claims that such abuses are widespread in the North African country”.


New EU-Africa relationship should invest in jobs and development, Shada Islam suggests
In an opinion article, Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe Shada Islam discusses about the engagement of Europe and Africa to renew their relations. Islam writes that the existing partnership “is out of touch with new realities in both regions and in desperate need of modernization” and she suggests that the efforts to renew this relationship should not be dominated by the “migrant crisis”, but by investing in jobs, sustainable growth and development.

EASO Executive Director steps down amid allegations
José Carreira, Executive Director of the EU’s asylum agency (EASO) resigned on Wednesday after allegations of staff harassment including “psychological violence”. In January, the involvement of EASO in irregularities in management of human resources and possible breaches of data protection were made known through an investigation of OLAF, the EU’s anti- fraud office”. Subsequently, further allegations about bullying and “a culture of irresponsibility” at the agency emerged, centered on the executive director”, POLITICO reports.

Externalization of the ΕU Border Control- Documentary
Billions of dollars are used to make African states new border guards. Development aid is subject to conditions: only those who assist Europe in migration control receive money. Profiteers of this policy are defense and security companies. Thus reports the trailer of an upcoming documentary that will launch on 9 June. The reporters Jan Schäfer and Simone Schlindwein have investigated in Uganda, Niger and Sudan, among other things, how the EU enforces its migration policy in Africa, who benefits from it and what price the migrants have to pay for it.