News Highlights: Calls for civilian transitional government in Sudan, Libyan fighting traps refugees, Eritreans instructed to hand over IDs

In this week’s news highlights:  Protest leaders call for forming interim civilian ruling council in Sudan; UNSC asked to support Sudanese protestors; Human rights abuses in Eritrea continue, says report; Eritreans are called to handover their ID cards by presidential order; Ethiopia’s revised refugee law comes into force; Thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in Libyan detention centers amid ongoing fighting; Organizations call for immediate release of migrants and refugees from Libyan detention centers; Italian interior minister signs another directive against NGO rescue missions; German Chancellor warns of escalating violence in Libya; Tear gas used as clashes break out in migrant and refugee camps in Greece; and a Greek Coastguard vessel  returns boat with 35 refugees on board back to Turkey.


Greater Horn of Africa

Sudan: Protest leaders call for civilian administration in Sudan
Representatives of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), who were leading the protest against ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, are demanding demobilization of the transitional military council that has taken power in the country. Instead, the protest leaders urged the formation of an interim civilian ruling council and dismantling of state intelligence agencies. Even though ex-president al-Bashir has been arrested and moved to prison, the SPA persists to bring to justice all leaders that are responsible for the former regime. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini spoke at the European Parliament plenary, expressing the EU’s support for a civilian transitional government.

Sudan: Civil society groups write letter to the UNSC
In a letter to the UN Security Council, Sudanese, African and international civil society groups call for a speedy transition from a military regime to a legitimate democracy. They state that the continued peaceful protests show the Sudanese people’s commitment to real change. The organisations call upon the UNSC to support the transition and to protect the rights of the Sudanese protestors.

Eritrea: Eritreans are instructed to hand over their ID cards
EritreaHub reported on a notice of the President’s office in Eritrea which was circulated. The decree was issued to all Eritrean nationals who, “as a result of the peace situation”, have been instructed to hand over their ID cards by 23 may 2019; otherwise they will be “held responsible”. No specific reason has been given as to why Eritrean nationals are obliged to give up their nationality documents.

Eritrea: Despite the peace agreement the Eritrean migrants flows do not diminish
In its quarterly update, the Mixed Migration Center reflects on the continued outflow from Eritrea despite the peace agreement has been signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The report points out that the situation of human rights protection has not improved and migration flows continue in large numbers. Main factors for fleeing the country, such as forced and indefinite national service conscription and political oppression, still remain. Due to the lack of transparency over the peace deal, many Eritreans remain sceptical of the political changes between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopia: Newly revised refugee law comes into force
After its publication in Negarit Gazette, Ethiopia’s revised Refugee Proclamation No. 1110/2019 has come into force. The revised law reflects the nine pledges that Ethiopia made in 2016 under the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). The new law includes broader rights for refugees, such as the right to obtain drivers’ licenses, the right to work, legally register life events such as births and marriages, and opens up access to national financial services, such as banking, as well as freedom of movement.

North of Africa

Libya: Thousands of refugees and migrants are blocked in Libyan detention centers
While conflict rages on in Libya, thousands of migrants are blocked in Libyan detention centers. Al Jazeera reports on the situation in Qasr bin Ghashir detention centre on the southern outskirts of Tripoli, where the migrants were “abandoned” by fleeing guards on Saturday 13 April. Fighting continues in Tripoli’s southern outskirts, where conflict erupted at the beginning of this month. At least 56 people have been killed and 266 wounded since Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) started its offensive on April 4, reported the World Health Organization (WHO). Refugees report that they refuse to be evacuated to Zintan detention centre, because of the terrible conditions reported in the centre – they ask for evacuation to safety instead.

Libya: Organizations call for release of migrants and refugees in Libyan detention centers
Several organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Amnesty International, and several UN aid agencies, expressed their concerns over worsening situation in Libya and its’ negative impact on detainees in detention centres near the combat zones. They are calling for immediate release of refugees and migrants from the centers and ensuring the protection and rights of people.


Italy: Italian interior minister signs another directive against NGO rescue missions
The Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has signed a third directive against NGOs helping refugees and migrants on the Mediterranean Sea, in particular against the Italian Mare Jonio rescue ship. The third directive in a month, the document reiterates that Italian waters can be crossed only by ”those with the right to do so”.

Four EU countries take migrants saved by Alan Kurdi rescue vessel
Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg agreed to take 62 refugees and asylum seekers who were stranded on board of the Alan Kurdi rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea for 10 days. On 13 April, the Maltese government allowed the vessel to disembark after the four EU countries had pledged to accept and redistribute all refugees.

Greece: Greek police and migrants clash after false reports spread among migrant group
Outside a migrant camp near the city of Thessaloniki, Greek police used tear gas to prevent refugees from making their way to the border with North Macedonia. A group of people clashed with the police after false reports about the opening the border crossings to North Macedonia and Albania were spread among the people. Refugees and migrants in Greece’s overcrowded camps aim to move to Western EU countries through the Balkan migratory route of which Greece is a starting point.

Germany: German Chancellor warns UN Refugee Agency over escalating violence in Libya
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, expressed her concerns over escalating violence in Libya. She has warned the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that the situation in Libya may cause new wave of migration to Europe. She also voiced her fear over worsening human rights situation in Libya and Sudan and she called for “improved approach to the factors that force people to migrate.”

Greece: Greek Coastguard returns boat with 35 refugees back to Turkish waters
Alarm Phone, a hotline for boat migrants in distress, has reported a call from a boat with 35 migrants on board, including 10 children and infants, on 11 April.  According to the GPS position, the boat has been found in Greek territorial waters by a Greek Coastguard vessel. Migrants stated that Greek Coastguards led them,under false impression, towards Turkey until they reached Turkish waters.