In this week’s news highlights: Human rights group urge Ethiopia not to close Hitsats refugee camp; COVID-19 reaches Eritrea; Ethiopia takes measures against COVID-19; 64 Ethiopian migrants found dead in a container in Mozambique; African flower sector looses jobs; African nations prepare for their battle against COVID-19; African experts team up to research the novel Coronavirus; 85% of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy report they were tortured in Libya; Commercial ships increasingly used in Libya returns; HRW reports Egyptian security forces torture children; UNHCR temporarily closes two facilities in Libya; UN High Commissioner for Refugees urges countries keep asylum procedures open; UN Special Rapporteur wants Greece to stop rights violations; Unaccompanied minors often disappear from Dutch asylum seeker centers; and Ireland calls upon medically trained refugees and migrants.
In this week’s news highlights: Hitsats refugee camp closure in the Tigray region of Ethiopia; UN cancels meeting on Eritrea due to Coronavirus; EU-funded road project in Eritrea allegedly uses slave labour; Natasja Bijl’s novel tells the story of an Eritrean refugee; Eritrean persecution of Catholics reinvigorated; the collective trauma of Eritrea’s youth; Somali and Kenyan officials meet to discuss border dispute; EU leaders and Erdogan meet to salvage EU-Turkey deal; UNHCR strengthens COVID-19 measures; Concerns about EU’s new Africa strategy highlighted by aid groups; Greece’s decision to hold migrants on war vessel criticized by HRW; Several EU member states offer to take children in from Greece; Call for better living conditions for asylum seekers in the Netherlands; Suspicions that arms keep pouring into Libya despite embargo; Ramtane Lamamra as possible next UN envoy for Libya; And Sudanese refugees in Niger sentenced for fire in camp.
The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak appears to strengthen xenophobia and refuels the migration debate, especially as right-wing politicians try to link the novel Coronavirus to African migrants and refugees coming to Europe. The virus has already infected more than 500 citizens in Europe at the time of writing and new cases are reported every day. In order to prevent the outbreak of the novel virus from becoming a pandemic, travel restrictions have been put in place. Flights to China, Iran and South Korea are cancelled by several countries. Towns in Italy have been ‘put in quarantine’, closed off from the outside world. Some politicians and experts argue stricter travel restrictions are necessary within the Schengen area and want to increase border control. Others state that a travel ban would not help to fight the virus and accuse populist parties of using the outbreak to promote anti-immigration policies.