News highlights: Italy and Libya prolong coast guard arrangement; Eritrea accuses CIA of plot against government; Greece formalises new law on deportation

In this week’s news highlights: Eritrea claims CIA has plot to overthrow the government; Eritreans protest against the regime in London; UN official allegedly spreads propaganda; South Sudan calls state of emergency; New measures for protection Kenyan domestic workers questioned; Greece formalises new law on deportation of rejected asylum seekers; Report urges the UK to change its migration policies; EU funds €663 million to support refugees in Turkey; Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland accused of breaking EU law in 2015; Refugees and migrants participate in local entrepreneurship; Deal between Libyan Coastguard and Italy continues; People from Libyan detention centre are released but left outside of rescue centre overnight; And Spain’s Prime Minister praises the efforts made by Morocco to lower number of illegal migrants.

Greater horn of Africa

Eritrea: Eritrea accuses CIA of plot to subvert Eritrean government
Eritrea claims it came into possession of “confidential documents” that prove that the US aimed at overthrowing the Eritrean government in 2011, the BBC reports. Eritrea released a statement in which the CIA is accused of planning “insurrection and protests” similar to the Arab Spring”. In the same statement, Eritrea blames Israel’s spy agency of spreading lies about Eritrea cooperating with terrorist groups. However, according to the BBC, there is no evidence that suggests the claims are true and the Eritrean government has not shown any proof to support its accusations.

Eritrea/UK: Protest in London against the Eritrean regime
David Alton, a British politician, reports that protesters gathered in London on 2 November to demonstrate against the actions of the Eritrean regime. The protest happened in response to “the recent concerted actions of confiscating and nationalising religious institutions, health centres and schools by the Government of Eritrea”, that took place after Eritrean Catholic bishops openly criticized the Eritrean regime. The protesters asked the international community for support to get justice and aimed at raising awareness of this issue, as well as for the ongoing human rights violations and indefinite military conscription in Eritrea.

Eritrea: UN Deputy Secretary General accused of spreading propaganda
In her interview with Shabait, the UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, acclaimed the Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, for his actions regarding equality, unity and peace in the country and in the rest of the region. Martin Plaut, senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, alleged Mohammed is spreading propaganda through her interview. Plaut claims that Mohammad must be aware of Eritrea’s attempt to attack the African Union summit in January 2011 in order “to create a climate of fear”, on which the UN has reported. He further argues that Mohammed must have known that the majority of the Eritrean population is forced to work in “slave-like conditions’’, which is also stated in one of the UN’s own reports.

South Sudan: Flooding in South Sudan causes a state of emergency
The recent floods in East Africa have caused the government of South Sudan to call out a state of emergency in the country. Spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jens Laerke, tells Voice of America that “[i]n South Sudan, flooding since July has affected more than 900,000 people, including internally displaced people, refugees and the host communities where they live.” The government of South Sudan continues to seek pledges for further humanitarian assistance.

Kenya: Human trafficking still persists in spite of new measures to improve conditions for domestic workers
This year, the government of Kenya introduced new rules to overcome both trafficking and abuse of domestic workers going to the Gulf States, which includes the obligation of Kenyan recruitment agencies to help the workers leave if the conditions are bad, reports The Guardian. However, Paul Adhoch, Director of the counter-trafficking NGO Trace Kenya, says to The Guardian that traffickers have already found ways to deceive the new rules, and former domestic worker, Shani Hassan, argues that domestic workers from Kenya will continue to be discriminated and “view[ed]… as slaves”.


Greece: Greece introduces new law on deportation of rejected asylum seekers
A new law on deportation of people whose asylum application has been rejected has been finalised in Greece. The new law implies that deportation should happen at a quicker pace. The Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, explains that “[t]hose who know they do not merit asylum but try to enter and stay in our country will no longer be tolerated”, reports The Telegraph. Meanwhile, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, refers to the refugee camps in Greece as being in “abysmal conditions” and asks for “urgent measures” to be taken, informs BBC.

UK: Report calls for change of the UK’s migration policies
A recent report from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee states that the 39 people that were found dead in a truck in Essex last month must be a ‘wakeup call’ for the government to change its migration policies. In the report, it is argued that the UK’s border control “has pushed migrants to take more dangerous routes” and drives them into the hands of criminal groups, BBC reports. The Committee further highlights the importance of collaboration and discusses the return of UK officials to EU-level meetings where irregular migration is discussed.

EU: EU mobilizes 663 million support for refugees in Turkey
The European Commission announced in a press release that they will fund an extra €663 million to meet the basic needs of refugees in Turkey. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, welcomes this and said: “EU support has made a real impact for refugees hosted in Turkey. Thanks to EU support, around 1.7 million refugees can meet their basic needs, and more than half a million refugee children go to school.” The European Commission announced this after several threats from Turkish President Erdogan to open its borders towards the EU to let more refugees enter the EU member states, Ahvalnews reports.

EU: Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland likely broke EU law in 2015
Eleanor Sharpston, the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General, said in a court statement that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic broke EU law when they refused to take in asylum seekers in 2015. The three countries argue that they were protecting national security and the interests of their citizens. However, Sharpston claims these arguments were inadequate because the countries “had the right to bar individuals deemed a threat”, report EurActiv and AFP. Sharpston’s opinion is not binding, but often influences the court’s decision.

EU: Refugees and migrants engage in local entrepreneurship
NewEurope highlights the positive aspects of refugees and migrants coming to Europe. The newspaper argues that newcomers contribute to society by participating in local entrepreneurship and innovation. It finds that “immigrants strengthen the EU economy by filling jobs in important industries, starting businesses, creating new products, and keeping Europe demographically younger.”

North Africa

Libya/Italy: Deal between the Libyan Coastguard and Italy remains
The Libyan Coastguard and Italy prolonged the deal under which the Libyan coast guard intercepts boats with refugees and migrants who are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Guardian reports that the Italian foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, said to the Parliament that it is “unwise for Italy to break off its agreement with Libya on handling asylum seekers and combating human trafficking”. Meanwhile Aljazeera reports that human rights groups urge for the deal to end, because of the many ongoing human rights violations in the Libyan detention centres. Spokesperson from Oxfam, Paolo Pezzati, states in The Guardian that the Italy-Libya deal “has allowed these untold violations.”

Libya: People are released from Libyan detention centre but left outside of UNHCR’s rescue center
While the official number of people remains unclear, an estimate of around 200-600 people were released from the Libyan detention centre, Abu Salim. However, when they were taken to a rescue centre offered by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), they were not allowed to enter and were left outside the center overnight, reports InfoMigrants. The news agency further finds that people “lacked all access to any sanitary facilities” and that they “had only been given one meal – bread and cheese – since they arrived.”

Morocco/Spain: Spain praises Morocco’s efforts to keep “illegal migrants” out
Spanish working Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, appreciates Morocco’s contribution in lowering the number of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea. According to The North Africa Post, Sanchez expressed in a TV debate that Spain has “succeeded in reducing by more than 50% the number of illegal migrants reaching our coasts thanks to cooperation with our partners, and particularly with Morocco”. According to the North Africa Post, Morocco will receive an extra 110 million from the EU to “tackle illegal migration”.