In this week’s news highlights: Alarm Phone’s reconstruction of deadly week of shipwrecks off Libya’s coast; 15-fold increase in Libyan COVID-19 cases; IOM resumes migrant repatriation flights from Libya; Major food ration cuts for refugees in East Africa amid funding shortages; Many missing persons from Horn countries and Libya; Eritrean activist missing for over two years in Ethiopia; Italy convicts three men to twenty years in prison for crimes in Libyan detention centre; NGO Mediterranea to resume search-and-rescue operations; France relocates 49 unaccompanied children from Greece; Bosnia and Herzegovina’s restrictions on asylum seekers “discriminatory and reckless”; And Greece continues to claim ‘fake news’ as evidence of abuse and illegal pushbacks mount.
In this week’s news highlights: Ethiopian political prisoners arbitrarily held since end of June; Political reshuffle in Ethiopia; Uncertainty over closing of Hitsats refugee camp in Ethiopia; More attention for ‘deliberate starvation’ in Eritrea; Unconfirmed reports state Eritrea releases religious prisoners due to crowded prisons and COVID-19 fears; Tribal conflict in Sudan kills 25 people; Violence and flooding threaten South Sudanese displaced people; 45 migrants and refugees killed in largest shipwreck of 2020 off the Libyan coast; Greece accused of illegally expelling over 1000 refugees; Italy gives Tunisia 11 million euros to curb migration; Refugee relocation ban sparks political stand-off in Germany; and First island COVID-19 cases in Greek refugee camp Vial.
Friday 3 February, European leaders meet at the informal summit in Valletta, Malta, to discuss migration. The meeting is focused specifically on halting migration along the Central Mediterranean Route, with Libya as its focal point. In a joint statement, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) urging the EU to not consider Libya a safe third country. The humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned the EU about an inhumane approach to migration.