News Highlights: AU suspends Sudan after deadly protest crackdown, ICC asked to investigate EU migration policy, Frontex funding increased

In this week’s news highlights: Deadly protest crackdown in Sudan; African Union suspends Sudan; EU calls for Sudan negotiations based on existing agreements; Ethiopia criticized for IDP policies; #Enough activists in Eritrea call for meetings; Egyptian rescue ship denied access in Tunisia; NGOs call on Europe to evacuate refugees from Libya; 2 dead and 25 missing in Libyan waters; Biometrics in migration control in Niger; International Criminal Court called to investigate EU responsibility in migration pushback policies; EC allocates €420.6 million for Frontex; EEPA publishes first issue of the newsletter Trends in Human Trafficking.

Greater Horn of Africa

Sudan: Dozens killed in violent military crackdown on protest camp
On Monday 3 June, Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) carried out a violent crackdown on protesters occupying a square in the capital of Khartoum. The official death toll after the attack was reported as 35 people, but civil society groups say that over a hundred have died in Monday’s attack alone. Reports include 40 bodies pulled out of the Nile river. The Transitional Military Council (TMC)  cancelled all previous agreements with civil society groups after the attack. Army leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said: “The military council decides to stop negotiating with the Alliance for Freedom and Change and cancel what had been agreed on and to hold general elections within nine months”. On Wednesday, the TMC reverted and stated it was again open for negotiations. Protesters responded by rejecting negotiations as long as violence was ongoing. Experts warn the violence may escalate.

Sudan: African Union suspends Sudan
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council announced that Sudan was suspended from all AU activities until a civilian government has been formed. The body made the announcement on Twitter after a five-hour emergency meeting in Ethiopia. The United Nations, NGOs and many international governments. Diplomatic sources reports that Ethiopia will launch a mediation strategy at the end of the week. The UN announced that it is temporarily evacuating its civilian staff out of the country. Experts expressed concern that the crackdown was discussed ahead of time between Sudan and Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Sudan: EU statement supports negotiations in Sudan based on existing agreements
Following the violent crackdown on protestors in Sudan, the European Union issued a statement via its External Action Service, supporting the African Union in its decision for suspension of Sudan. The EU stated that negotiations should take place on the basis of agreements reached so far between the civilians and the Transitional Military Council. It also called for release of those detained on political grounds.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia is criticized over forced returns of internally displaced persons to unsafe areas
Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group have expressed their concern over forced returns of internally displaced persons within Ethiopia, reports Africa News. Recently, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Gedeo and West Guji areas which were severely affected by ethnic violence last year. According to the expert groups, these areas still pose a great risk of further attacks on internally displaced persons that are being pushed to return home.

Eritrea: Enough movement is being heard in Washington DC and Asmara
Between 23 – 25 May, activists of the Yiakl – Enough! campaign held a large meeting in Washington DC. Following the Eritrean Independence Day on 24 May, the representatives of the campaign called for a conference in order to gather Eritrean diaspora supporting the movement. The movement aims at transition in Eritrea. Followers of the #Enough movement have also been active in Asmara where they spread the signs and messages throughout the public spaces in Eritrea’s capital, reports Meron Estefanos.

North Africa

Tunisia: Access of an Egyptian ship, having rescued migrants and refugees, is being denied by Tunisia
Since May 31, the Maridive 601, a commercial vessel sailing under the Egyptian flag, has been refused access to the Tunisian port of Zarzis, writes InfoMigrants. The ship rescued 75 migrants and refugees off the Libyan coast. The NGO Doctors without Borders (MSF) wrote on Twitter that “Tunisia has no functioning asylum system in place and thus cannot be defined as a place of safety for migrants and refugees…”.  According to InfoMigrants, the ship’s crew and the boat captain Faouz Samir said the situation was critical with 100 people on board and only one to two days worth of water and food supplies.

Libya: NGOs call on Europe to evacuate migrants and refugees from Libya and to stop Libyan coastguard support
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) states that thousands of refugees are trapped in the Libyan detention centres and should be evacuated to Europe. Aljazeera reports that more than 5,800 migrants and refugees are located near Tripoli, where fighting looms between the government of national unity and general Khalifa Haftar. NGOs and aid groups stressed that the two-month conflict around the capital has worsened the situation. Sam Turner, MSF head of mission in Libya, said that “there are no safe places in Libya to take these migrants and refugees in order to remove them from the risk of conflict. This is why we are urgently calling for their humanitarian evacuation”.

Libya: Woman and child drown in the Mediterranean Sea, 25 others missing
On Sunday, the Libya Coast Guard intercepted 73 people, 40 men, 25 women and 8 children. The survivors were reportedly from Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and Sudan. After the interception, the Libyan Coast Guard recovered two bodies, one of a woman and one of a child. Around 25 others are still missing. According to the UNHCR data, nearly 20,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, while more than 500 are dead and missing.

Niger: Biometrics used in migration control towards EU
The New Humanitarian reports that migrants in Niger have to register through the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), which was developed by the International Organization on Migration (IOM). It saves data such as fingerprints and facial images in a central database. Concern exists that agencies such as the EU’s Frontex may be able to use the data for migration pushbacks, and that the data sharing lacks the human rights safeguards necessary to people seeking protection.


EU: Lawyers submit document to ICC, accusing EU of creating the deadliest migration route
A group of international lawyers has filed a legal document to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in which they call for an open investigation of the European Union’s deadly migration policy. The European criminal responsibility in the deaths is documented in a 242-page document, which analyzes every choice, decision, public declaration of the officials and politicians of the member countries and of the community institutions. Charges of indictment, in addition to deaths at sea and rejections, are “deportation crimes, murder, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, persecution and other inhuman acts,” according to the lawyers. The EU and its member states are facing increasing legal challenges, including on its assistance to Libyan detention centres and Libyan coast guard, as well as development aid to stop migration to dictatorial regimes.

European Commission: Frontex Budget for 2020 increased
This week, the European Commission presented the budget for 2020. The Commission allocated €420.6 million (+34.6% compared to 2019) for Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The extra funding is allocated to setting up a standing corps of 10.000 border guards, according to the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council two months ago .

EEPA publishes first issue of the newsletter Trends in Human Trafficking
EEPA has recently published the first issue of the newsletter on Trends in Human Trafficking between the Horn of Africa and Europe. It aims to bring a monthly overview of current research publications, reports as well as selected news articles, with specific focus on human trafficking for ransom