In this week’s highlights: President al-Bashir steps down after 3 months of protests; US delegation calls for the release of an American citizen who grew up in Eritrea; Eritrean Government accuses Turkey Qatar and Sudan of ‘subversive acts’ for backing Eritrean Islamists; Alan Kurdi rescue ship is still waiting for a safe port; Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea is published by Human Rights at Sea; Report of the Roundtable “Inhumane treatments and trafficking of people in Libya: EU and EU Member states’ responsibility; Fighting continues in Libya; Human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea operated by Libyan militia continues as conflict rages in Tripoli; Thousands of refugees in danger in Libya; Young Eritrean calls from detention centre in Libya.
Greater Horn of Africa
Sudan: President al-Bashir steps down after 3 months of protests
On Thursday, 11 April, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir resigned under pressure from the Sudanese army and protestors, wrote Reuters, New York Times and Sky news. According to the Reuters news agency, consultations are underway to form a transitional council to lead the country.The army raided the headquarters of the Islamist party led by the Sudanese president, who is now under heavy guard, specified Reuters. The Sudanese army has announced its intention to make an ‘important announcement’ writes Africa News. Sky News states that tens of thousands of Sudanese people were seen marching towards the military headquarters in the capital waving the national flag, singing, clapping and claiming “It has fallen, we won.”
- Sudan’s Bashir forced to step down, sources say
- Sudan’s president Omar al Bashir ‘steps down’ after uprising
- Soudan : Omar El-béchir jette l’éponge
- Sudan’s Military to Make Announcement as Protests Swell Against Omar Hassan al-Bashir
- Sudan: Army says it will make ‘important announcement’
Eritrea: US delegation calls for the release of an American citizen
After US congresswomen and congressmen visited Eritrea last month, the chair of a U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittee called on the Eritrean government to release an American citizen, a girl who has been detained in the country for more than six years, stated Voice Of America news (VOA). Ciham Ali Abdu was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Eritrea. Eritrean officials apprehended her in December 2012 when she attempted to leave the country without a mandatory exit visa. Salem Salomon writes in VOA News that the Eritrean government refuses to acknowledge Ciham’s citizenship or even her existence.
- US Congresswoman Calls on Eritrea to Release American – Eritreahub
- US Congresswoman Calls on Eritrea to Release American – VOA news
Eritrea: Eritrean Government accuses Turkey, Qatar and Sudan of ‘subversive acts’
The Eritrean Ministry of Information published a press statement which alleges that ‘the sporadic acts of subversion’ conducted by Turkey through the funding and operational services of Qatar, as well as the collusion of the Sudanese regime seek, to obstruct and derail the peace process with Ethiopia and destabilise the Horn of Africa region. While it did not provide details of these acts, the Ministry stated that the Turkish government opened an ‘obscure’ office for the the Eritrean Muslim League, “under the mantel of the Eritrean Ulama’s League/Eritrean Rabita-i Ulama.”
- Eritrea Ministry of Information: Press Statement
- Eritrea attacks Turkey, Qatar and Sudan for backing Eritrean Islamists
Alan Kurdi rescue ship is still waiting for a safe port
The Alan Kurdi rescue ship, operated by the Germany-based organization Sea Eye, rescued 64 migrants off the coast of Libya the 3rd of April. Among the migrants are 12 women, a child and an infant. On 10 April Osumah, 23, who is pregnant, had an epileptic seizure and was evacuated by a Maltese patrol boat. Her husband remains on board the Alan Kurdi as he who was denied permission to accompany her. Both Malta and Italy have refused to allow the vessel to enter their ports. Officials onboard the Alan Kurdi say the situation is increasingly difficult and have voiced their concern over the shortage of drinking water and food supplies.
- German NGO seeks help for Mediterranean migrant rescue ship
- Refugees on stranded NGO rescue ship in ‘poor state’
Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea is published by Human Rights at Sea
Human Rights at Sea, the UK based Charitable Incorporated Organization, has published the first version of the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea. The principal aim of the Declaration is to raise global awareness of the abuse of human rights at sea and to mobilize an international effort to put an end to such abuses.The second drafting session will be held in Geneva in May.
- First Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea published
- Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea: Version 1, 5 April 2019
Report of the Roundtable “Inhumane treatments and trafficking of people in Libya: EU and EU Member states’ responsibility
The complete report of the Roundtable, which was held in the European Parliament on the 1 April 2019 has been published. The event was hosted by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL Group) and Ana Gomes (S&D Group) together with the organisation Europe External Programme with Africa (EEPA). Human rights activists, journalists, NGO representatives and experts spoke during the roundtable about the horrific living and detention conditions of refugees in Libya.
North of Africa
Libya: Fighting continues in Libya
On Monday 8 April, an international airport in Tripoli was subject to an air attack. Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) began an offensive to take control of Tripoli and took up positions about 11km south of Libya’s capital. Tripoli is protected by an array of militias and other groups loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Battle-hardened forces from the city of Misrata have also arrived in Tripoli to help in the fighting against the LNA. The United Nations has been forced to postpone a planned and potentially watershed national conference, Ghassan Salamé, the UN special envoy for Libya, said it would be impossible to hold the conference against “the backdrop of artillery shelling and air raids”.
- Battle rages for Libya’s capital, airport bombed
- Libya crisis: Air strike at Tripoli airport as thousands flee clashes
- UN postpones Libya national conference amid fighting in Tripoli
Libya: Human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea operated by Libyan militia continues as conflict rages in Tripoli
While the conflict between Marshal Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan national army and the UN-backed government army continues, human trafficking of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea persists, states AlJazeera news. According to the article the UN believes the militia groups fighting in Tripoli are involved in the trafficking of migrants to Europe, manning detentions centres and facilitating boat rides across the Mediterranean. The newspaper reports that traffickers are using Tunisian borders as a transit point.
Libya: Thousands of refugees in danger in Libya
Al Jazeera news highlights the conditions of thousands of refugees and migrants locked up in detention centres inside Tripoli who are terrified of what might happen to them. In light of current insecurity in Libya’s capital, UNHCR relocated more than 150 refugees from the Ain Zara detention centre in south Tripoli to UNHCR’s Gathering and Departure Facility in a nearby safe zone. According to senior members of German government, the current situation and instability in Libya may cause a new wave of migration towards Europe.
- Libya: Detained refugees ‘terrified’ as clashes near Tripoli rage
- Libya conflict could trigger new wave of refugees, German politicians warn
- Amid Libya clashes, UNHCR relocates detained refugees to safety
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Report
Libya: Young Eritrean calls from detention centre in Libya
L’Espresso, an italian weekly news magazine, has published an audio of a 16-year-old boy detained in a detention center in Libya. These three one-minute audios came Giulia Tranchina, a London-based lawyer specializing in asylum law for the Wilson Solicitor studio. The young refugee describes the danger and suffering he and his fellow detainees face in Libya.