In this week’s news highlights: Mereb Institute for peace-building is launched in Ethiopia; South Sudan delays formation government; Workshop in Kenya discusses technology and human trafficking; Pax Romana petitions for reopening Catholic health facilities in Eritrea; France creates stricter migration policies; UK care criticized in exposé on Eritrean refugees committing suicide; Europe continues building walls, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall; EU countries break Schengen rules; Libyan coast guard in secret discussions on cooperation with Malta; ICC requests the surrender of alleged Libyan human trafficking criminals; United Arab Emirates may be involved in the airstrike on the Tajoura detention centre; And family trying to reach Europe tells their story.
Greater Horn of Africa
Ethiopia: New peace institute in Ethiopia
A high-level meeting on “Rehabilitation, youth employment and digital innovation” was held in Aksum, Ethiopia, on November 9 and 10. The meeting saw the discussion and subsequent launch of the Mereb Institute for Peace-building, Development and Rehabilitation. In addition, two books from the “Connected and Mobile: Migration and Human Trafficking in Africa” series were launched. The new institute aims at educating both refugees and local youth from the host communities as well as connecting them to the labour market, because “[y]oung generations should be given an equal chance,” the mayor of Aksum city said during the meeting.
- Press release, Mekelle University – Aksum, 12 November 2019: High Level meeting launches new peace institute in the Tigray region of Ethiopia
- New peace institute launched in Tigray
South Sudan: 100-day extension to form government
Several news agencies report that parties involved in the government formation in South Sudan agreed to delay the government formation with 100 days, because certain matters remain to be discussed, such as the amount of regional states and their boundaries. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) highlights the importance of peace for the millions of South Sudanese people that are currently suffering. Since the 2018 peace deal, ICRC saw small improvements in the country, including the return of some people that fled South Sudan. However, if war breaks out again ICRC would be “highly concerned with their fates”.
- South Sudan: 100 days to alleviate the suffering of millions
- Sudan warring parties agree to delay unity government by 100 days
Kenya: Technology workshop to fight human trafficking
The Attorney General Alliance Africa Alliance Partnership (AGA AAP) together with the Judiciary Training Institute and the British High Commission, organized a workshop to combat human trafficking in Kenya. The goal was for the 50 participating Kenyan judiciary staff to gain a better understanding of human trafficking in relation to electronic devices, investigation and prosecution. According to AGA AAP board member Marcus Green, more knowledge around technology is necessary to detect human trafficking in an earlier stage as electronical devices are used by human traffickers to obtain, move and hide money, Nairobi News reports.
Eritrea: Petition to reopen Catholic health centers in Eritrea
Pax Romana, a group of Catholic Professionals from Africa, strongly disapproves of the Eritrean regime closing all health facilities managed by the Catholic Church, because people are suffering from lack of healthcare as a consequence. According to Pax Romana, the seizure further demonstrates that the regime undermines “social justice, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, democratic governance and the upholding of the rule of law in Eritrea”. The organization started a petition requesting the Eritrean government to reopen that the Catholic health facilities.
France: France introduces new measures to control migration
Several news agencies inform that France is introducing new measures to control migration. A statement given by French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe, states that “[w]e [France] want to take back control of our migration policy”. This control includes measures such as quotas on immigrant workers, limited access to medical care for people that are to be deported, as well as the removal of tent camps where refugees and migrants live. On November 7, the first tent camp was removed and 1600 people were relocated to a rescue center.
- France ‘takes back control’ with non-EU migrant quotas
- Prime minister: France to ‘take back control’ on migration
- Macron Is Playing With Fire on Immigration Quotas
- Europe migrant crisis: French police clear Paris ring road camps
UK/Eritrea: Eritrean refugees commit suicide out of fear of being deported
The Guardian reports that four Eritrean friends killed themselves in the UK over a short period of time in 2017 and 2018. One of the four is Ahmed Nur. He fled Eritrea – surviving an extremely hard and dangerous journey to Europe – and arrived in London when he was 16 years old. His friends indicated that Ahmed Nur was using alcohol and cannabis and was scared of being sent back to Eritrea after the police searched him. Mary Hassell, Senior coroner for inner north London, criticizes the mental health institutions and argues that Ahmed Nur did not receive the psychological support that he needed.
Europe: 30 years after the Berlin Wall, walls are erected again to keep refugees and migrants out
Several news agencies and the Dutch organisation Stop Wapenhandel (Stop Arms Trade) report that Europe continues to build physical and virtual walls to keep refugees and migrants out of Europe in spite of these people being in need of support. They note that EU countries have spent €900 million on protection of its land borders, and Anadolu Agency reports that both physical and invisible walls such as “border controls and patrolling ships” are used to secure European borders. According to Carnegie Europe those walls are “designed to keep people out and to stop them sharing in our peace, prosperity, and good fortune”.
- ‘The Walls of Europe’
- The Business of Building Walls report
- New ‘Iron Curtain’: Arms Dealers Profiting From Europe’s Refugee Tragedy
- Europe builds new ‘Berlin walls’ against migrants
- Judy Asks: Is Post-1989 Europe Building Walls?
EU: Schengen rules are violated by several countries
Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticizes the European Commission’s conclusion that Croatia is ready to join the Schengen Area. HRW argues that Croatia is breaching human rights by violently returning migrants and refugees back to Bosnia or Herzegovina and states that “[t]he European Commission’s action sends the message that serious human rights abuses are no obstacle to Schengen accession.” Meanwhile, a new report from the European Policy Centre notes that Germany, Austria, France, Norway, Sweden and Denmark are breaking Schengen rules by implementing border controls for longer than the allowed 2 years, EUobserver reports.
Belgium: A soon-to-be refugee center set on fire
Several Belgium news agencies report that a fire broke out in a former care center in Bilzen, Belgium, in which a temporarily refugee center is going to be located. After an investigation, the police concluded that the fire was started on purpose. In the weeks before, people living in the neighbourhood already protested against the new refugee center. Red Cross Flamders is shocked and tells Nieuwsblad this action is inhumane.
- Politie bevestigt dat brand aangestoken werd, maar Rode Kruis zal “centrum openen, de plaatsen zijn broodnodig”
Libya/Malta: Libyan coast guard to cooperate with Malta
Times of Malta reports that Libya and Malta secretly discussed the cooperation of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) and the Libyan coast guard on intercepting migrants and refugees on their way to Malta. “[If] there is a vessel heading towards our waters, the AFM coordinates with the Libyans who pick them up and take them back to Libya before they come into our waters and become our responsibility,” a source tells the Times of Malta. Meanwhile, LibyaObserver reports that both human rights groups and spokeswoman of the European Commission, Mina Andreeva, state that Libya is not a safe place to return people to.
- Exposed: Malta’s secret migrant deal with Libya
- Malta has deal with Libya coastguard over migrant interceptions: report
- European Commission says Libya is no safe place for landing migrants
Libya: ICC calls for surrender of alleged Libyan criminals
LibyaObserver reports that Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), once again requested Libyan authorites to hand over alleged Libyan criminals Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (son of Muammar Gadaffi), Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, and Al-Tuhami Khalid. According to the LibyaObserver, newspaper Aki states that “[t]he ICC is in the process of issuing arrest warrants for those accused after gathering evidence from immigration detention centres in Libya pertaining human trafficking, torture, and violence charges.”
- ICC may issue arrest warrants for Libyans on allegations of human trafficking
- ICC Prosecutor renews call for surrendering Saif Gaddafi and Mahmoud Al-Werfalli
Libya: United Arab Emirates allegedly involved in airstrike on the Tajoura detention centre
BBC reports that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may be involved in the airstrike on the Libyan Tajoura detention centre in July this year. At least 44 migrants and refugees died in the attack. The news agency notes that the attack was carried out by foreign missiles and that UN Security Council documents reveal that both the type of missile which was used in the attack and the base from which the airstrike was sent are used by the UAE. The UN has not officially blamed the UAE for being responsible as “[t]he report does not name the state as it says evidence is still being gathered,” reports BBC. The UAE has not responded to the accusations.
- Libya migrant attack: UN investigators suspect foreign jet bombed centre
- Foreign jets used in Libyan refugee centre airstrike, says UN
- UAE suspected in deadly attack on Libyan refugee center
Libya: Family tells the story of its attempt to reach Europe
In a video, BBC shows the story of a family from Cameroon trying to reach Europe. The mother, Delphine, wished to give her kids a better future in Europe. The heat during the journey made her ill, but she did not have access to medical care and died in a detention centre in Libya. Family members tell about the difficult journey towards Europe that included both rape and violence from traffickers. Despite these experiences, the family is still trying to reach Europe to fulfill Delphine’s wish.